MARK LINFORD dives into the horror cliches of the genre-bending Cabin In The Woods.
Rule No.1: if you find yourself in a horror film, never have sex. You will almost certainly die.
Your marginally more intelligent (and less horny) friends will discover your mangled body and proceed to battle against whatever alien/ghost/zombie/psycho has decided to ruin the fun of your care-free road trip.
The Cabin in the Woods (Joss Whedon and Drew Goddard of Buffy the Vampire Slayer fame) brilliantly takes the genre to task in a hilariously self-aware, acutely postmodern look at society’s macabre fascination with beasts, blood, ghosts, guts and terror. As the deliberately cliché title suggests, there is much more to this film than ‘tits and a scream’. (Incidentally, Piranha 3DD, arguably self-referential in its own unique way, has that covered).
Action is split between five friends on holiday in ‘the cabin’, and the mysterious activities of two non-descript office workers at a futuristic facility. The film’s punch lies in its twists and inversion of expectations, but without giving too much away, chaos ensues in a spectacular genre-bending style.
Yes, there are horror staples in good supply – jumps, gore, suspense and lashings of blood – but put together with action scenes that wouldn’t be out of place in James Bond. The dialogue is consistently sharp as it rips apart (pun fully intended) horror movie tropes – above all, this film is funny.
Fran Cranz deserves special mention for his performance as Marty, pot-smoking ‘fool’ and unlikely hero, whilst a brief homage to Japanese horror is heart-warming and truly inspired. The final sequences are so entertaining and high-paced hat the ending seems slightly weak – but by then you’ll be glad to relax and enjoy the final twist.
The film actually finished filming in 2009 but was sidelined after MGM filed for bankruptcy. However, its release now couldn’t be more appropriate. The Cabin in the Woods plays perfectly into the current vogue for all things dystopian, seen in the success of The Hunger Games, and similarly raises questions concerning the voyeuristic tendencies of today’s society. If you wished for more grit and gore in the latter, then this is your film. There are some truly disconcerting moments which rightly critique the recent rise of so called ‘torture porn’ franchises: Saw (1 through 7), Hostel (1, 2 and 3), The Human Centipede
If you love horror films then definitely see this movie. There are tributes to be spotted, with similarities ranging from The Shining to Monsters Inc. Sigourney Weaver (the Alien films) even makes a late appearance.
But if horror films are not usually your thing, then definitely see this film. It’s smart, funny, and only a 15 certificate (no wimping out). An early contender for best film of the year, everyone will be asking if you’ve seen this one.