The Cabin in the Woods (2011)
(15) Running time: 95 minutes
Director: Drew Goddard
Writers: Joss Whedon, Drew Goddard
Starring: Kristen Connolly, Chris Hemsworth, Anna Hutchison, Fran Kranz
Reviewed by: Matt Wavish, official HCF critic
Since our top class reviewer Dr Lenera has already reviewed this film, and since giving away too much of the story would seriously spoil your enjoyment, I will attempt to keep this brief. The Cabin in the Woods is a film that was shelved around two years ago by MGM due to financial issues, and after a Facebook petition and some persuading, a film company eventually decided to jump onboard and get this film released. Thank you Lionsgate, one of the leading film companies in the horror business, they bought the film and pleased a legion of fans desperate to see what is being hailed as one of the most amazing horror films of the modern era of horror. Does The Cabin in the Woods deserve the praise it has been receiving? Hell fucking yes it does, and then some! Here is a horror not afraid to push boundaries, not afraid the use pretty much every horror cliché known to man, not afraid to turn said clichés on their heads, not afraid to go all out and bring us something refreshing, and most certainly not afraid to inject a bit of fun.
You should all know the story by now, five friends head off for a weekend getaway to a cabin in the middle of the woods, next to a lake, and already the clichés are there. What we don’t know, is how the horrors begin, what the intentions are and how the whole thing will play out. I can’t say much, but the horrors and the violence come on around the forty or fifty minute mark, and boy does it come on. This film plays by the rules, it makes the rules, re-invents the rules and turns the bastards on their heads. There are clichés galore here from the dodgy gas station owner all covered in shit and spitting that tobacco stuff, to the sexy blond appearing in her underpants in the first five minutes, there is the usually annoying stoner (in this case he actually makes for one of the highlights of the film) to the drunken party (which involves a rather seductive blond kissing a wolf head on the wall) The Cabin in the Woods is full of them, it knows the horror genre, it knows what people want, and it certainly knows how to play with its audience. For instance, when entering the gas station, one of the party is about to be confronted by the dodgy owner, but as he turns around we expect to see him and we don’t, and he turns up, totally unexpected as we let our guard down, clever move!
However, playing by the rules is not in the creators of this awesome films nature, and yes the friends go to a cabin in the woods in the middle of nowhere, but there are other forces at play, namely a building where two guys in charge of a load of staff watch the events unfold on monitors, and suddenly the bar of horror is raised. I will not get in to what these guys are up to, but I will say that you will have an enormous amount of fun watching them. Comedy is expertly blended with full on horror and violence as the film continues down its path of real horror. We are introduced to a family of zombies later on, and I must say that these are the most impressive and downright frightening zombies I have seen in a long long time, and they seriously want to hurt their victims. As the horror starts to get more and more intense, the film goes from rule abiding fun to something far more sinister and fantastic.
I simply cannot say much more than that, you must, and I mean MUST see The Cabin in the Woods for yourself. There is greatness here, brilliance and utter respect for the horror genre. Yes the film pokes fun at pretty much everything horror has ever offered us, but it pokes fun in a respectful and insightful way. You just need to witness the J-Horror scene to understand exactly where these filmmakers are coming from, utterly hilarious! This film will make you laugh, it will scare you and some of the violence (while mostly off screen) will disgust. There are ideas here that give the impression the creators could have carried on for a number of sequels, there are moments of absolute genius, and come the final twenty minutes, there are moments that will quite simply blow you away and leave your jaw dropping on the floor. The Cabin in the Woods is probably far more intelligent than Goddard and Whedon ever expected it to be, it was certainly far better than I ever imagined, and it is exactly what the horror genre needs, a good dose of fun, laughing at itself and a good idea of how to scare and totally upset its audience. There is a good chance you will walk away scratching your head, but you will be cheering all the way at the films brilliance and passion. The Cabin in the Woods is a brilliant, perfect horror with an idea, a directive, a total understanding of what fans want, it plays by the rules and then has a total disregard for playing by the rules. Great stuff!!
You can read Dr Lenera’s review here, the good Doc scored the film Rating: