The Cabin in the Woods – Review

The Cabin in the Woods – Review

Review by FilmFellaLozz – 8.2/10

It’s a big year for Joss Whedon; directing the biggest superhero movie thus far with The Avengers Assemble and having produced and co-written this, The Cabin in the Woods. First time director, Drew Goddard, has taken up the helming duties. He’s not new to this genre though (if ‘Cabin…’can fall into just one, that is), with credentials including Cloverfield, Lost and T.Vs Buffy the Vampire Slayer. So he’s proven his worth in the horror/mystery/comedy genres. However, The Cabin in the Woods was shelved due to MGM administration issues back in 2008. So, has a 4-year wait been worth it for one of the most anticipated movies for a while now? The answer is yes. But I can’t tell you why for the most part because that would give it away!

Thinking the movie theater had put on the wrong film, with two white collar workers talking about their mundane home lives on the way to their office, I thought, damn it, this place never gets it right.  Then flashing up on the screen, in big red writing: THE CABIN IN THE WOODS. Ok, so this isn’t gonna be the normal teen slasher I envisaged.  But then, we meet the beautiful young people who form the usual suspects: The Jock (Chris Hemsworth: he who is Thor from Thor and Thor in The Avengers, you know, that Thor bloke), the nerd, the whore, the stoner and the virgin. Right, so it is gonna be another teen gorefest, with a stupid plot and unnecessary nudity. Well, yes and no. Or no and yes. So, the weekend in the cabin begins.

Swimming in the lake, flirting and drinking. Of course it’s all fun and games until someone gets hurt…or murdered. It plays out like a million movies seen before; a creepy basement, taxidermy interior design and Latin incantations. But then enter a little bit of The Truman Show and bit of The Evil Dead, and throw in some Office Space for good measure. Weird right? And that’s just the start of it. How far can too far go? You’ll see.

Whedon and Goddard have a total awareness, but also an appreciation of the audience and their preconceptions of movies, specifically horrors. It’s obvious they’re having fun playing around with them; letting people think they know, and then confusing them, just when they thought they’d got it. No brainer nonsense quickly evolves into something that you have to put your thinking cap on for. This was absolutely refreshing; considering good mind benders are few and far between.  But to keep it horror, keep it funny and retain intrigue is a mean feat indeed.

Most of the comedy comes from Fran Kranz (the stoner, Marty), who previously worked with Whedon on Dollhouse. His, is a well-worn role, but the character, although familiar to us may well prove to be the hero, but also the main antagonist. It’s a nice cleverly written character indeed. The two office guys (excellently played by Richard Jenkins and Bradley Whitford) have some of the best lines though; dry, dark and hilarious. Their presence and environment is essential to examine corporate nature and structure; and the fact that what it all comes down to is order and adherence to the rules. The same rules that are followed are to create this horror mash up; to make something that we’re expecting, but not expecting all at the same time. But following the rules doesn’t mean that you can’t bend them. And Whedon and Goddard have bent them. They are benders.

It’s been hard writing a review of a movie I can’t write about, but what I will say is that you haven’t seen anything quite like this, while at the same time you have seen it all before. With a closing chapter that’s outrageously awesome, this might turn out to be your movie of the year so far. Go see this if you like any of the following: horror, comedy, sci-fi, the supernatural or mystery. If not, then you shouldn’t be watching movies at all.

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3 Responses to The Cabin in the Woods – Review

  1. Ryan McNeely says:

    You’re right: this is my film of the year (so far). I resorted to haiku for my review in an attempt to avoid giving it all away! Good write-up

  2. Filmfella Darren says:

    Skillfully done Lozz, I don’t think I’ve learnt anything about the film from this review, but it has made me intrigued and eager to see the film which is a source of conflict as It doesn’t look like it is going to be released in Taiwan. So thanks Lozz, making me keen to see a film I can’t bloody see!You might be interested to know that I am 90% certain that I am coming home for a visit in August. I am going to book the tickets today so then i’ll be 100% certain. I obviously want to catch up with you and all the gang. You may or may not know that I have an American girlfriend too. She is coming with me to Wales. I’ve talked about you and Heather and she really likes the idea of going for dinner or doing something. I think she likes the idea of two British men taking their American significant others out for dinner. Seems like American girls love to act out Richard Curtis film to me, but being British, that works for me! Also, she saw a picture of you and said, ‘ doesn’t he look like Eric Bana!’ It will be good to see you mate. I miss talking about film with you. And hopefully we can get the whole Filmfellas team together for some podcasts and drinks?

  3. Filmfella Lozz says:

    Thanks for the comment, Ryan.

    Darren, ha ha. No not really. Hopefully you get to see Cabin…It was a bloody hard review to write. Absolutely, we can hook up when you come back. That’ll be cool.

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