‘Kick yourself cinema’ is something that happens when you see a simple idea executed to near perfection. The concept is so clever and effective that you’ll be kicking yourself that you didn’t come up with the idea first. Therefore, the first rule for attending a ‘Cabin in the Woods’ screening is to wear soft heel shoes. To maximise the experience, the only information needed beforehand is that five young friends go to a cabin in the woods and bad things happen.
‘Cabin in the Woods’ is a bloody open love letter to the horror genre put together by writer/director Drew Goddard and co-writer Joss Whedon. It’s clear in the film that the duo is fed up with how easily the genre has been used and abused. It’s a rebellion against the jokey sequels of ‘Nightmare on Elm Street’, languid found footage films, the gimmicks of gore porn and remakes. It’s almost like for every cat that has jumped out of a closet for a cheap scare in a movie, Goddard and Whedon we’re writing a scene for ‘Cabin’ in response to the mediocrity.
All great films transcend their genre and become something more that’s intangible. ‘Cabin is not just a horror film; it’s funny, scary, and thought provoking.
Kristen Connolly, Chris Hemsworth, Anna Hutchinson, Fran Kranz and Jesse Williams all play their youthful roles brilliantly and, not only fit a few old slasher film character clichés well, but are forced to play against them sometimes too. Richard Jenkins and Bradley Whitford make a wonderful pairing and outshine the youngsters throughout most of the film thanks to the wonderful sharp dialogue scripted.
The momentum of the story does take a little hit after a few big plot twists but there is never enough time to get too complacent. Proceedings escalate to a level of ridiculous fun and the final 30 minutes is like being in film geek heaven, especially if you’re a fan of the spooky stuff.
‘Cabin in the Woods’ greatest achievement is how Goddard and Whedon take away their status as filmmakers and plant their film fan flag right in the middle of the movie. These guys are making films they want to see with their comrades in packed cinemas while having a ball. When that kind of thinking happens you get ‘Cabin’ and one of the best films of 2012.
[rating=4] and a half stars
Cameron Williams - follow Cam on Twitter here: @popcornjunkies
Directed by: Drew Goddard
Written by: Joss Whedon, Drew Goddard
Starring: Kristen Connolly, Chris Hemsworth and Anna Hutchison