Film Review: The Cabin in the Woods

Monday 19 October 2015 by

Cabin in the Woods, Film, Drew Goddard, Joss Whedon, Horror

Written by one of my icons, Joss Whedon, I’ve been wanting to watch The Cabin in the Woods for a while. A slick take on the usual horror story, it tells the tale of five teens who take a break to a remote cabin for a wild weekend, but end up in the middle of a bloodbath.

But all is not as it seems. Far below, people are watching. They are constructing their own horror story – but why? The five characters are all familiar tropes; the jock (Chris Hemsworth), the free-and-easy girl (Anna Hutchison), the stoner (the Whedon stalwart, Fran Kranz), the genius (Jesse Williams) and the virgin (Kristen Connolly). And the cabin is a familiar setting. Except there’s no escape – not from the zombie family on a killing spree, not from the force field holding them in, and not from the master plan of their captors.

This is a clever balance between true horror – there are genuine jump-in-your-seat moments – and black comedy – the people below taking bets on the outcome is one of the better moments. The darker side is that the whole thing is a ritual to stop a much worse evil from taking over the world. So do you root for the teens, or for the people trying to hold back the evil?

There isn’t a weak link in the cast. I really can’t fault it: they construct their roles with aplomb, and with the definite sense that they are having incredible amounts of fun. I really loved this film, over and above the usual horror films that are churned out. It takes skill to turn a comedic hand when the walls are sprayed with blood, but the writing duo of Whedon and Drew Goddard pull it off with embarrassing ease. Forget Scary Movie and forget all the horror flicks that have come before, The Cabin in the Woods waves its hands and neatly combines the two.

Even if you don’t like scary films, you’re going to adore this one. Not least for Kranz and Hemsworth! They are the bright lights from the whole thing… as always (Kranz will always be the adorable Topher to me). This film is brilliance from beginning to end, and I can’t get enough of it.

There’s been a bit of talk about a second film, but both Whedon and Goddard are being coy. They promise not to do it if it ruins the first film, but don’t promise that it will never happen. In many ways I wish that there was more to enjoy, but also couldn’t bear the thought of it being ruined by a terrible sequel. I guess the jury is still out.

In the meantime, watch The Cabin in the Woods right now: you won’t regret it.

2 Comments

  1. I am always skeptical with horror movies. The classic ‘horror’ clichés and plotholes will always entertain me. This one I believe Joss Whedon embraced it to make it work, thus the dark comedy as you mentioned.

    (Not sure which kind of horror death I’d pick for myself!)

    Manik Makina | That MM Blog

    • Fran

      I think I’d prefer to be the first to go – as quickly as possible! I love that Whedon used the tropes against themselves and somehow pulls off something that still has the jump-in-your-seat moments that make up a good scary film. I wouldn’t say this is horror as for me it wasn’t terrifying, but it was certainly brilliant.

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