The Cabin in the Woods (2011) Directed by Drew Goddard. With Kristen Connolly, Chris Hemsworth, Anna Hutchison, Bradley Whitford, Richard Jenkins, Fran Kranz, Amy Acker and Jesse Williams.
Directed by Drew Goddard and co-written with geek messiah Joss Whedon, it’s abundantly clear from the very get-go that Cabin in the Woods is a teen-slasher movie with a difference.
Going into detail about what separates this fun-packed slice of entertainment from the churned-out masses of generic, blood-and-guts horror films, would risk spoiling the fun of the discovery. The first thought to attach to that is the involvement of Joss Whedon. Up until just over a year ago, Whedon’s career was flagging. Clearly blessed with talent, he’d gained a reputation for making cancelled television shows. Cult favourites like Firefly, Dollhouse and Angel found their audiences years after they were brutally hacked down by impatient TV executives, yet his God-like status in the geek-verse had never been in doubt. Fast-forward a year, and thanks to the box office bonanza that was Avengers Assemble – he’s back in the game.
Just like Tarantino with From Dusk Till Dawn, Whedon’s influence and sense of fun is all over Cabin in the Woods. His skill as a writer, to supply those nods and winks to the audience, while at the same time, attempting things that seem original, makes the film tick on multiple levels. But full credit must go to Drew Goddard for his handling of a lively film that makes fun of convention and gets the most from a good humoured cast, whose roles, particularly the twenty-something cabin dwellers, mirror the typecasting of the material the writing is so lovingly tipping its cap to.
Without wanting to give anything away, the last thirty-minutes had my jaw on the floor. It hit me where I wasn’t expecting it, and I loved it all the more for doing so. As the film breezes forward, it does the polar opposite of your average hack n’ slasher, in as much as it doesn’t run out of ideas. The contrary, its ideas multiply and mutate, until we’re grinning at the audacity of the execution.
A rare treat for horror fans, with bags of imagination and fun, that keeps peeling back the layers until a memorable climax. This is how you make an A-list B-movie. 4.5/5