The Cabin in the Woods
Directed by: Drew Goddard
Last night I went to an advance screening of Drew Goddard’s The Cabin in the Woods, as it’s being released theatrically in Sweden on May 18th. But, what can I say that doesn’t rupture the fun of this movie? This is one of those films you need to stay the hell away from reviews trailers and stuff like that as they most likely will spoil it for you, I’m choosing my words wisely from here on, and being stupendously sparse with the images.
If you are familiar with Goddard’s screenwriting work, as Cabin in the Woods is his directorial debut, then you know he’s never afraid to try new ground, twist things round, flip it on it’s ass, or dig deep into mystery…Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Angel, Alias, Cloverfield, Lost to name some of his script work. Script work he often does together with Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Angel, Firefly creator and Avengers director Joss Whedon. Don't worry, The Cabin in the Woods cuts a deeper gash than any of the TV shows these guys have worked on, and does have a thick nihilistic vein running through it's core. But without speculating or going off on a thread that may end up busting the surprises, I think the easiest, and most descriptive way I could put it, is so say that The Cabin in the Woods sticks genre conventions in a blender, adds’ ice, shakes it about and pours out one cool-ass cocktail of frills, thrills and chills.
First off, let me clear one thing out. I have some problems saying that this is a straight up regular horror flick, so don’t go into the theatre thinking that your date will be tugging onto your arm and hiding in your armpit… Or then again, perhaps your date will, as there where several screams amongst the audience during last nights screening. I’d say it’s more of a well-designed, horror themed, comedy taking an ironic dig at the horror genre and it’s conventions.
It goes something like this… a bunch of friends, Dana [Kristen Connolly], Marty [Fran Kranz], Jules [Anna Hutchinson], Curt [Chris “Thor” Hemsworth] and Holden [Jesse Williams], all take a weekend trip up to a cabin which Curt’s uncle just bought for a weekend of partying. En route, they come upon a freaky old man who warns them for the untimely deaths they are about to meet. They obviously write the man off as an oddball, and head off to that small wooden cabin in the woods – which is much larger on the inside than the outside, just as they always are. The keg of beer rapidly starts to be drained and the obligatory game of truth and dare leads them into the cellar which is stuffed with old weird shit, before something comes lurking out of the woods to start slaying the youngsters… sounds familiar don’t it!
Yes, it’s familiar because the whole premise of the movie is that you know genre conventions to fully enjoy the film – well if you do you’ll get more out of it. This movie is made for horror fans that live, eat, sleep, crap genre conventions. Just like Wes Craven’s Scream messed around with conventions, in a serious, but still self mocking tone fifteen years ago, The Cabin in the Woods get’s in there and mocks the formula all over again. But fret not, this isn’t all about taking the piss out of horror fans and making a parody of the genre, all the poking at the genre has a riotous and innovative reason. I’ll leave it at this; rarely does one see a movie where cutaways are so appreciated as The Cabin in the Woods.
For genre buffs this movie is a checklist of references to a multitude of characters, places, names and classic moments from the backbone of horror genre cinema that will add to the experience. Walking out of last nights screening, my mates and I where nerdy geeks ticking off the cross references we’d found, talked about what we’d seen, the good, the bad and tiny details that we’d love to see more of, or even want to see again, and a few details that we didn’t really see working for the flick…
Never the less, The Cabin in the Woods is a fast paced innovative delight that that takes some really sharp turns once you start to get a grasp of where it’s going. Contradicting horror predictability, and using it in creative ways hasn’t been this fun in ages!
The Cabin in the Woods hits Swedish cinemas on May the 18th.