Five college kids head for a vacation in a deserted shack (or cabin) in a remote forest (or woods), with no-one around for miles and a very creepy basement. So far, so Evil Dead. Or Texas Chainsaw Massacre. Or… well, you get the point, but the fact this is written and produced by Joss Whedon, and co-written and directed by Drew Goddard, one of the men behind Lost, should tell you that this is no ordinary textbook horror.
The recent years have seen the horror genre be evaluated, analysed and turned on its head, with the likes of Wes Craven’s Scream franchise and Tucker and Dale Vs Evil, and also imbued with a greater sense of comedy, for example Shaun of the Dead and Severance, to name two prime British examples. Cabin in the Woods takes these films and goes much further, leaving you rethinking every slasher movie you’ve ever seen.
I’m going to do my best to not reveal spoilers here, but if you’re trying to avoid them then chances are you probably aren’t reading this. The trailers have been criticised for perhaps showing more plot than is strictly necessary, revealing that there is more to this cabin than meets the eye, but I personally feel this is essential for the trailer (though it could have been hinted at more subtly) else the only trade the film would have made would be from the slasher fans willing to pay to see them at the cinema, of which I most certainly am not. My only trailer annoyance was the use of a scene or two from the third act that, though I’d only seen the trailers once, still stuck with me and left me waiting for them, over-thinking the plot as I went.
The performances are all wonderful, particularly practically unknown Tim De Zarn as the token redneck doomsayer the kids encounter on their way, and there’s some casting coups for fellow Whedon-ites in Dollhouse’s Amy Acker and Fran Kranz (whose Topher Brink is, occasional Firefly cameo aside, the best thing about Dollhouse) as well as Chris Hemsworth, Bradley Whitford and Richard Jenkins.
I have very few faults with the movie. One came because I’m a film nerd, and caught the signposted closing cameo from a recognisable voice, and the third act feels a little off the rails at times, but in an exhilarating, thoroughly entertaining way, although I did question why exactly that big red button was there. I look forward to pouring through the features when it’s released on DVD, and it’s the first film in a while that I’m actually considering going to the cinema and watching again. Go see this film, it’s truly wonderful, especially if you’ve ever seen a film with a cabin and some woods, and chances are you have.
Choose film 9/10
Nice review friend, I thought this was pretty well done. Reminded me a lot of Tucker and Dale VS Evil. Certainly a breath of fresh air for the genre.
Thanks. It's definitely in the same vein as Tucker and Dale, but I did think in that one the film only really had one idea and stretched it past breaking point. Still a great movie though. Can't wait to watch Cabin in the Woods again though.
Hey, Jay! Sunny D here, fellow 1001 Movies Blog Club member. Welcome to the Club, by the by! I've been checking out your blog and enjoying your reviews and Top 5 lists and whatnot and just wanted to leave a comment to that effect. I decided to leave it here because I'm glad you are also a Cabin in the Woods fan. I loved this movie so much that I devoted not one but two lengthy blog posts to it after I saw it in the theater, and I informed my wife that a copy of it on Blu-ray was the main thing I really wanted for my birthday last week. (She came through. She rocks.) I will probably post about the movie yet again when I have time to watch my home copy and pause it during all the parts that went by way too fast in the theater. Anyway, keep up the good work!
Hey Sunny, thanks for reading and for the welcome. I'm still making my way through the blogs of the other 1001 members, but I like your focus on family and your kids, its a fresh perspective to a film-centric blog that makes it stand out from the rest.Cabin in the Woods is at the top of my Christmas list (along with The Avengers and The Muppets), I've only seen it once (never double-dipped a film in the cinemas yet) but I'm very much looking forward to seeing it again, here's hoping its on next year's 1001 List (alas, unlikely).
Pingback: Top 10… New-To-Me Films of 2012 | Life Vs Film