Wednesday, May 23, 2012

A Short Love Note to Cabin in the Woods

Just five college kids in an old abandoned cabin in the woods... Oh yeah!
I've been on a bit of a Joss Whedon tear of late, so you'll have to excuse me as I continue the trend with a glowing (albeit short) review of Cabin in the Woods. Written by Whedon and Drew Goddard (of Cloverfield fame) and directed by Goddard, Cabin in the Woods is a loving "spoof" of the horror genre. It begins with the typical horror movie set-up of five college students heading off to a cabin in the woods for a fun filled weekend of youthful shenanigans (I feel so old typing that), but what unfolds is anything but ordinary.

I'm going to be strict with myself about avoiding spoilers here because the less you know going in the more you'll enjoy Cabin in the Woods. I won't even post the trailer or the film's poster here because frankly they give away too much. All I'll say is that this film is a loving send up of the entire horror genre that engages in an intelligent, creative, and hilarious analysis of the acts of both making and watching horror movies. It's incredible, see it.

Beyond that it's hard to know what to say without spoiling things. In terms of the cast, numerous Whedon regulars are featured here including Kristen Connolly and the always amazing Fran Kranz (Topher!), as well as Chris Hemsworth (who continues to impress me with every role he takes on). There are also some additional roles that I won't mention here but are played by some fantastic actors, and once you see the film you'll know exactly who I mean. Everyone involved does a great job and understands their roles, which all include elements of horror and humour alike. It's a delicate balance but everyone pulls it off elegantly.

I should also clear up the whole "horror movie" thing. Cabin in the Woods is a horror movie more in spirit than effect, which is to say that it has a horror movie premise (kids go into woods, people die, there's blood, etc) but it isn't really horrific per se. There's only one shot that I would qualify as "gory" and it's really pretty tame. More than that the movie just doesn't focus on/feature the horrific elements: terrifying things occurs, granted, but they're more often played for laughs. Also the movie isn't shy about critiquing itself, both for depicting horrific events and for enjoying them, explicitly or otherwise. As I said, it's a delicate balance and I'll leave it for you to see it to understand it, but trust me: it works.

I think that's just about all I can say about Cabin in the Woods without giving anything away. It's an intelligent, hilarious, and endearing ode to the horror genre and film making/watching in general. It's definitely my favourite film of 2012 so far, and I can't wait to see it again. It's just an amazing movie. Don't go in expecting a slasher, it's so much more than that, and don't look into it because the les you know going-in the better. But definitely see it, because Cabin in the Woods is brilliant.

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