Sunday, April 22, 2012

The Cabin in the Woods (2011)

The Cabin in the Woods (2011)

Writer/director Drew Goddard and writer Joss Whedon have concocted something really special with horror-comedy 'The Cabin in the Woods'. It's one of the most entertaining films I've seen at the cinema in a long while, and it's also clever, witty, and full of surprises.

From the outset it's clear that this isn't your traditional 'teenagers in the woods getting slaughtered' horror film - it begins in an underground facility where two technician type boffins trade water cooler banter. Turns out these guys are in charge of dishing out the horror in the form of a zombie attack to a group of unsespecting youngsters who decided to spend a few days in the eponymous cabin. Why they do this is one of the film's reveals that is best left unspoiled. The script goes along with and subverts the conventions of teen oriented horror movies; it's gory and plays the terror just right, but at the same time it's also outrageously funny and inventive. The last 30 minutes are deliriously over the top and entertaining.

Unusual for this type of film is the quality of its characters. All of the stereotypical archetypes are present and accounted for, but in this instance they are also atypical and even the 'jock' and 'slut' characters are likable thanks to the writing and performances. Best of all are the two techs watching and directing events as they trade quips and experience elation and frustration in equal measure while trying to manipulate events in the cabin.

Goddard and Whedon find the perfect balance of tone, no mean feat given how incongruous they are. It's not going to win awards for technical wizardry but it's well made all round, and its real strength is the screenplay around which everything else is built. 'The Cabin in the Woods' is better than most horror movies and most comedies that have come out in recent times - I can't wait to see it again!

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