From writer/directors Drew Goddard and writer Joss Whedon arrives Cabin in the Woods – a film that may single-handedly redefines the modern horror genre.
Curt (Chris Hemsworth) and his four friends travel to his cousin’s country home for a little “r and r”, but the creepy home holds many secrets and the basement houses something even more sinister.
Spoilers are just too easy to give away as Cabin is filled with twists that make Shyamalan look like a rookie, you’ll just have to take my word that this is one of freshest concepts that I’ve seen in a very long time. In fact the concept is what really sells the film – it also helps that it has a fantastic cast that portray interesting characters. Thankfully they’re not the schlocky B actors that just made the jump from “crowd extra on a major motion picture” status.
Cabin in the Woods is less about the scares and more about plot, sure it has it’s moments but after decades of zombies, they don’t quite have that heart stopping effect that they used to. But that’s okay, Cabin is a genre mashup consisting of the prerequisite scares but filled to the brim dark comedy and a science-fiction underplot that gives it a much needed freshness.
Cabin benefits from having Joss Whedon as a co-writer, it’s easy to see what input he had on the film – the cast is once again well balanced, as has become his area of expertise, but his experience with horror (thanks to Buffy) has given him the opportunity to flex his creativity muscles and provide a truly outrageous plot which is thankfully brought to life with an equally stunning screenplay.
The short film scene and even Hollywood give us plenty of homages to specific genres (they’re easy to do because stories are developed from more influential works), but Cabin in the Woods will go down in history as the ultimate love letter to the classic survival horrors of years long gone. Influences from Carpenter, Raimi, Craven, and Simizu are present and those familiar with their work (even if not by name) will easily be swept away with laughter.
However, it still makes it’s mark as one the most ambitious displays of creative writing that has been brought to the big screen within the last decade, perhaps even further back than that. This ambition doesn’t fall into the category of “bigger is better” or “more gore equals more controversy” – we’ve seen these through the likes of Sam Raimi to mention but one of the masters, this ambition comes from passion of two filmmakers that wanted to unlock the potential of the medium for a modern audience.
Because Cabin in the Woods isn’t too heavy on the scares, it should appeal to casual watchers in addition to fanatics (it’s compulsory for fans). This may just change your perspective on the horror genre – the concept is that powerful and you wouldn’t want to miss it…Cabin deserves a viewing in a cinema
The Bottom Line
It’s not often that one watches a film that changes the idea of the horror genre – Cabin in the Woods is one of those films that, while paying homage to the genre, also instills a completely new outlook on the infamous secluded woodside house that’s brimming with demons of all manifestations. On concept alone, this film from Drew Goddard and Joss Whedon earns a standing ovation but a great cast, humour, and fantastic cinematography pull this film from a great concept to just short of instant classic status. Make no mistake, this film is probably one of the most important genre films in many years.