A horror film that is clever and original is something that you seldom see in this day and age. The genre is overflowing with films that have paper-thin plots that are buried with gore, nudity and cheap scares as a way to cover up the shortcomings. With the vast majority of these films being panned by critics and moviegoers alike, it is about time that a film came around that turns today’s horror formula on its head. Thankfully, along comes The Cabin in the Woods; a horror film that makes fun of many of the horror genre cliches and treats us with a story that is fun and engaging. Finally, a modern horror film with a freakin’ script!
The film takes place – you guessed it – in a cabin in the woods. 5 college students go there for a vacation, and bad things happen. While this appears to be the most standard and dumb horror plot in existence, that is exactly the point. The film starts off as just another horror film in order to make fun of all of the genres cliches; such as the isolated area, a creepy man warning them not to go there, and the 5 people themselves all fall into the most generic horror characterizations imaginable. As the film goes on, however, the nods to old horror films takes a back seat, and we are slowly sucked into a story that resembles no other.
This is a well executed film, and Drew Goddard (director, co-writer) is able to balance the comedy and horror aspects really well. Whether you are laughing at the absurdity of a situation or shaking because of what lies in the shadows, they both work and the tonal shifts never feel jarring. I must also give him credit for gathering a great cast of actors that actually make the film better rather than taking away from it. It is a given in horror films that you have absolutely horrible actors that are underdeveloped and you could not care any less about them. This is not the case here, as all of the actors give solid performances and are very likeable. Each character is here for a reason that drives the story forward, not just to drive up the death count.
I can’t delve any deeper into the plot because it’s nearly impossible to without spoiling something. This film is best viewed without knowing any of its tricks, so I recommend not reading any in-depth reviews before seeing it. It’s called The Cabin in the Woods for crying out loud; it wants you to think it is just another dumb horror film, and if you go in thinking that you will more than likely come out pleasantly surprised. Rarely does a film come along that is so predictable and at the same time so unpredictable, and the fact that it happens to be a horror film is more than enough reason why it should be checked out.
Release Date: April 13, 2012
Genres: Horror, Comedy, Thriller