The Cabin In The Woods

cabin in the woodsReleased: 2012
Director: Drew Goddard
Starring: Kristin Connolly, Chris Hemsworth, Fran Kranz

Ambitious, beautiful and thoroughly engaging


Sometimes it’s hard to write a review of a book or a film. Not because there’s nothing to say, but the exact opposite –  there’s too much to say. I keep my reviews spoiler-free but on occasion the aspect of the film that most intrigues me is one that would act as a spoiler. In those cases I tend to avoid writing a review. I ended up discarding my review of The Kids Are All Right because of this. I don’t buy the argument that after a certain time it doesn’t matter. There’s always going to be someone coming to a film for the first time and they deserve the opportunity to watch the film fresh.  To review The Cabin In The Woods without spoilers and without discussing all the amazing things in it is going to be hard, but I’ll give it my best shot…

Co-written by Joss Whedon this appears at first to be a typical teen slasher flick as a group of stereotypical college students leave the safety of their airy and light apartments to spend a weekend at a deserted, gloomy cabin. On their way to the cabin they encounter a creepy gas station attendant and once there they reach their destination they attacked by unknown assailants. Of course, being co-written by Buffy creator Joss Whedon and Cloverfield and Buffy writer Drew Goddard this isn’t quite as straightforward as it seems.

I loved The Cabin in the Wood; it’s inventive, gory, funny and scary. It takes the tired old clichés of horror films and looks at why they exist – while still using them. If you’ve ever wondered why seemingly intelligent people decide the best way to meet an unknown threat is to split up and go in different directions then this film offers one possible explanation. The characters all fit into the slasher film stereotypes – the nerd, the stoner, the slut, the athlete and the virgin. As Scream pointed out nicely, being a virgin is helpful in horror films and this is another area explored in this film.

A common feature of horror films is the lack of acting prowess and the use of unknown actors in the key roles. The acting here is fine, nothing exciting from the five leads but nothing bad either. There are a couple of fun performances from other cast members who seem to relish their roles. Since The Cabin in the Woods was filmed Chris Hemsworth is now instantly recognisable as Thor but was still relatively unknown when this was filmed but the remaining four leads remain anonymous.

I watched this with my husband who declared it to be “weird” and I’m not sure that he meant that in a good way. I can definitely appreciate that people may not buy into this film as much as I did, anything which plays with conventions and expectations as much as this is bound to be divisive. I’m not sure if this is a game-changer for the genre but it is one of the most inventive and enjoyable horror films I have ever seen.

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