Release Date: 13th April, 2012
Director: Drew Goddard
Starring: Chris Hemsworth, Kristen Connolly, Bradley Whitford, Amy Acker, Anna Hutchison
Running Time: 95mins
If you go down to the woods today you’re in for a heck of a surprise, the genius of Josh Whedon and Drew Goddard has released something utterly insane but pretty darn brilliant.
Following typical and standardised horror film tactics and conventions they masterfully tell the story of a group of teenage stereotypes who head off on a weekend to escape the world, get drunk, embrace their hormone filled urges and cause some mayhem, as expected a lot more than they bargained for awaits them as they have to fight for their lives.
However the genius of this films lies in the what and the why and not necessarily the how, from early on in the film we know that the group are being watched by someone and monitored by two blokes at a desk in some remote office – both of which are skilfully played by Richard Jenkins and Bradley but we don’t fully know why until the denouement and then there are still questions. It’s near enough impossible to pen thoughts on Cabin without revealing something crucial, for anyone who is a fan of previous work of Whedon, aka Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Angel, Firefly and especially Dollhouse you’ll recognise influences and nods to some of his past characters instantly, even gets a starring role as the stoner kid Marty.
Somewhat annoyingly it was shot in 2009 but due to MGM’s financial issues it never made it off the shelf and since then The Hunger Games was released, which spoils The Cabin in the Woods’ originality a little. The characters are pretty one-dimensional and in all honesty their personalities aren’t all that important, it’s more about what they are manipulated into doing and how easily they fall for it.
The cruel part though is the twist, it’s not enough that these teens are essentially being sacrificed for what some people believe to be the greater good, no they’ve got to go through tremendous amounts of pain and suffering along the way, plus they essentially have to pick their own fate – a bit like Goosebumps books used to make you do, but with those you could always trek back, flip the page and start again, no such luck for this scooby gang.
The main reason to see this film is for the ‘OMG’ moments, of which there are a fair few in store. The twist itself isn’t all that miraculous but what follows it will ensure your jaw hits the floor, the ending sadly has flaws but it’s pretty funny so we’ll still praise it.