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Friday, April 13, 2012
In The Cabin In The Woods, the writers of Cloverfield and Buffy The Vampire Slayer combine to (for the word I am about to type please forgive me) deconstruct the horror film and, in the process, they make the first riotously entertaining film of the year.
Even its poster is magnificent – a wooden cabin spinning around like a Rubik’s Cube. It’s a striking image that few films could live up to, but the way it all fits together is ingenious and enlightening.
We audiences are accustomed to having our simpleminded entertainments served up to us with a postmodern, self reflexive twist, but this is something far more thorough.
It doesn’t just parody the tropes of the scary film but also analyses why we enjoy them and the purpose they serve.
This inspired horror comedy doesn’t leave reviewers much – every smart and witty insight you might possibly make about The Cabin In The Woods is contained within its 95-minute running time.
Best just to say as little about it as possible.
I was going to restrict myself to a description of the first two scenes, but even that feels like it is giving away too much. It’s enough for you to know that an archetypal five teenagers go off to spend the weekend in an archetypal remote cabin and find themselves terrorised in archetypal ways, watched on by two white-coated scientists in an underground laboratory.
It should be emphasised that this is more comedy than horror and, if there is a criticism, it is that, while the comedy spirals off into all kinds of strange areas, the scares it generates are fairly generic. The comedy is by definition fairly dark, but not in a cruel or callous way.
Without wishing to negate Goddard’s contribution, the resulting film seems like pure Whedon. The latter had seemed to be on the decline recently with a run of cancelled TV shows and then having this film spend three years on the shelf after the MGM bankruptcy.
It’s great to have him back. Few people can shape a one-liner like him. Even fewer can dissect popular culture and put it back together with more love and insight than seemed possible.
THE CABIN IN THE WOODS (15)
Director: Drew Goddard
Starring: Kristen Connolly, Chris Hemsworth, Fran Kranz, Anna Hutchison, Richard Jenkins and Bradley Whitford
Length: 95 mins