May 6, 2013

The Cabin in the Woods


Drew Goddard & Joss Whedon, 2011

          A group of college buddies decide to venture into the woods for a camping weekend of the typical college recreational stuff - getting high, drinking beer, having sex. When they get to the cabin they discover the cabin has a dark history... and it only gets worse for them from there.
          You will likely hear that plot-line and dismiss this film thinking that is sounds like EVERY other horror film made in the past ten years. And it does. But that's the point. Anyone who is going into this film hoping its a mind-numbing teen-screamer (like Scream, Wrong Turn, Texas Chainsaw Massacre) is likely going to be disappointed. It's smarter than that and deserves more credit. It's one of the most under-rated films of 2011 (and was actually shelved and not released until 2012). It's more of a satirical piece written in a three-act structure that transcends the typically overused horror techniques. It's fresh, innovative, imaginative, creative, suspenseful, surprising. It deconstructs the cliche slasher and brilliantly exploits the predictable twists with the aid of some well-timed comedy. It's masked as an poor man's Evil Dead that really morphs into a clever psychological thriller. It will satisfy the horror purists with some bloodshed and some Friday the 13thesque aesthetic but will also appeal to those who are more dismissive of the horror genre and are looking for something more heady that doesn't just play on freak-factor. At the beginning of the third act there is a scene (and you will know exactly which one I'm talking about) that's so creative, beautifully gory and shocking that I've gone to YouTube to re-watch it several times.

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