Movie review by Neil Sadler
Starring: Kristen Connolly, Chris Hemsworth, Anna Hutchison, Fran Kranz, Jesse Williams, Richard Jenkins, Bradley Whitford, Brian White, Amy Acker
Director: Drew Goddard
For a horror film, THE CABIN IN THE WOODS likes to play with you even more than it plays with its victims. In fact the victims get off quite lightly when compared to the mind games, scares and imagination thrown at the audience in this audacious, smart and utterly enjoyable movie.
It all starts so calmly, if a little strangely with Richard Jenkins and Bradley Whitford as two workers travelling through their underground headquarters and discussing the mundanities of real life.
When we are introduced to the main protagonists of this piece, it is almost a disappointment. They aren’t as interesting or as witty as our previous companions. In fact they are just what you expect, the blonde tart, her jock boyfriend, the bookworm, the virgin and their stoner friend. Worse than that, they are heading to a cabin in the middle of the woods with no phone signal and only one road. You know this isn’t going to end well.
But end well it does. Indeed the whole journey is a blast which manages to be genuinely funny, creepy, scary but above all smart. This is the film that SCREAM wanted to be but it is funnier, scarier and a hundred times more original.
I can’t pretend that I am particularly surprised that THE CABIN IN THE WOODS is such a good film. True, it has been waiting for a release for almost a year but this has more to do with the lack of faith of the studios than there being anything wrong with the film.
From the pen of Joss Whedon and Drew Goddard, the minds behind BUFFY and ANGEL, two series whose influence is still present in much TV on both sides of the Atlantic, this has their trademark humour and intelligence. The jokes and the shocks will have you reeling and there is a moment towards the end of the film that is like every horror movie fans dream come true. Imagine Aliens vs Predator vs Evil Dead vs Freddy vs Jason but so much better than that sounds.
But none of this would work if it wasn’t grounded in the kind of imaginative back story that many horror writers would love to get their brains on.
It isn’t without it’s faults. For the most part the 5 victims are pretty forgettable but then this is the whole point of the story. Our men and women in white coats (and surprise guest star in black gloves) are far more interesting than the victims they are plotting to kill but this barely matters when the whole thing is such a non stop pleasure. It isn’t even worried about setting up for a sequel, it is happy to allow you to wallow in 90 minutes of the smartest pure entertainment to come out of Hollywood in a long while (hopefully until Joss Whedon’s next film, THE AVENGERS)