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The Cabin in the Woods was written by Joss Whedon and Drew Goddard and was directed by Drew Goddard and produced by Joss Whedon. I was excited to see it because I'm a bit of a Joss Whedon fan, having enjoyed Buffy, Angel and most of all Dollhouse.
I wasn't disappointed with The Cabin in the Woods, it retains Whedon's clever teen dialogue and was an original take on the horror/ slasher genre - no easy task.
The action takes place in a cabin where a group of college students are holidaying. They are unknowingly being watched and manipulated by a group of lab technicians in a high tech bunker who are evidently controlling an annual ritual to appease some unspecified higher power. This seems to involve creatively sacrificing some teenagers around the world. The stakes are high as we hear that other nations have failed in this year's task.
The teens play a part in their own demise, their actions can trigger different monsters and we see the workers at the facility taking bets on which monster it will be this year.
This is all done with a lot of dark humour which I really enjoyed. The cast are solid, with stand out performances by Fran Kanz who plays the intelligent consipracy-theorist stoner Marty and by Bradley Whitford and Richard Jenkins who are the duo we follow at the facility. This pair have some very funny scenes.
The Cabin in the Woods was released in 2012 and received a positive reaction from critics.
In search of a good film to watch I was reading lists of the best horror films according to year recently and in many of these lists, the Cabin in the Woods came top place. I didn't know much about the premise of the film prior to watching really, I thought it was about a big brother scenario where the horror aspects were shown publicly like a reality tv show. I wasn't quite off, but the film was certain to throw in many twists and turns, making it wholly unpredictable.
The film surrounds five friends who go on vacation together to one member of the groups' cabin owned by his cousin. We find out later on in the film that this character, Curt, played by Chris Hemsworth of 'Thor', doesn't actually have a cousin he says in passing, but that must have just slipped his mind when he was handed the keys to this already furnished reclusive retreat out in the middle of nowhere. One by one they are targeted by a surveilance watching government-type body, who we receive frequent cut-scenes to as they endure an office party 'wherever' they are stationed. They offer a lot of comic relief, and I thought the Gary, a high-positioned manager within the company involved, was particularly good and played his role very effectively, having a subtle arrogance as a career man, as well as fear at the 'unknown', the part of the film that is carefully hidden away from us until the final third.
The horror aspect of the film is slow and unwinding. It doesn't really totally begin until everyone is at the cabin having settled in for their stay, and the relationships between the characters as well as some brief characterisation has occurred. This was slow and drawn out I felt, and not really fleshed out. For example, the effective lead, Dana, mentions quite off-handishly in the beginning what I assume was an affair with one of her teachers at university and this is never really touched upon again, and so I don't really understand its inclusion at all. Perhaps it was a justification to get her to agree to the trip, but I think something more reasonable would have sufficed. There are also other instances where things conveniently happen, much like the cousin incident. Jules (Anna Hutchison) has recently dyed her hair she explains, a point which is later poignant when it turns out this has been tampered with by the film's antagonist. I obviously look into films far too much, but when could this have been done without her knowledge, or how could she have gotten it from someone who had already done so.
These conveniences can be forgiven if you interpret the film as a kind of satire of the horror genre which as it went on I found myself doing. The gore and violence near the ending is excessive and seemingly unending at one point. A barrage of stereotypical villains from the nurses in Silent Hill, cenobites, a tooth-faced ballerina, zombies, and an illustrious mermaid, all fill a small contained space and commit a spree of murderous rampage, so that by the end of it the room is entirely covered in blood. It could have been a grotesque sight, but the sheer speed of it all made it so ridiculous that it was almost humourour instead, hence my opinion it could be satire. In the same vein, the characters all represent a cliche of sorts, a virgin, jock, 'whore', intellectual, and fool, a horror film token that is used over and over. This film utilises this in quite an ingenious way however, but its presence is still important. For example, the jock and promiscuous character find themselves wondering the woods in search of sex in the outdoors, a scene where the audience always seems to find itself screaming 'don't do it/go there/he's behing you' etc. Its quite overdone, but the plot of the film manages to explain away this so that it seems worthwhile rather than just plot filler.
The best thing about this film is its lack of predictability. It uses all of the cliches and tried and tested methods of ordinary horror films but in a new and clever way. I can't say it was that outstanding in my opinion, but I can also recognise why others would view it as such as there was nothing inherently wrong either. The twist is a shock, but it is also so unrelated that it is arguably a bit annoying that they take such a strong veer away. Though, once it is revealed, you can put together all of the subtle pieces from the earlier parts of the film so it makes sense.
The acting was ok but that's all I would describe it as. It depends really, if the director was instrument in making the actors portray their characters as they did. For example, Curt, the jock, was a little boring and didn't really do much other than pop out and in at convenient times when needed, and this was either because Hemsworth was told to act this way, or he was just doing a very basic job at characterisation. In the same way, Holden, the intellectual, goes from a quite suave cool guy at first when flirting with Dana, to suddenly wearing glasses at all moments in order to portray his stereotypical nerdy personality. Unless I missed the justification, I struggled to understand this sudden change. The interaction between the characters was also very different. At times they looked to be quite a close, tightknit group, particularly Marty (the fool) and Dana in the later scenes of the film where there is almost a tension between them as they fight off the film's antagonist. However, there are also times when the group is very quick to just make Marty a pariah, wanting him to leave or no longer being interested in him at all, without any real explanation. One that I can presume myself is the anxiety of the events are supposed to lead to a conflict between the characters, although it is only realised between Marty and the rest.
I didn't hate this film but it isn't one I'd go running back to watch again any time soon either. I think because of the nature of the twist, once you know what it is, much of the interest is gone, and to my shame I can never watch a film without reading the synopsis beforehand, so perhaps that just made me lose out on the jumps and turns throughout. It was good as a horror film, but also quite satirical, in a clever and subtle way. There were moments were things were too excessive and too stupid really, where I don't believe ordinary people would behave that way or act like that, that made it difficult for me to really engage with it. On the whole though, it is worth watching, even if just that once, as it is an interesting take on the genre, and attempts to take it somewhere new. I would probably rate the film itself upon first viewing a 4/5, but because it did not fulfill the high expectations it gave me, I'd give it a 3.
"Lets all go out to a remote location in the woods" they said, "My cousin has a deserted cabin out there that comes complete with its own spooky cellar" they said, "What's the worst that can happen?" they said....well a small group of teens are about to find out!
Cabin In The Woods really shouldn't work. It takes all the usual suspects - the jock, the stoner, the hot girl, the plain girl and the intellectual - and puts them all out in a location slap bang in he middle of nowhere that comes complete with its own crazy local who threatens them obliquely and makes them feel unwelcome.
When the group discover a hidden cellar underneath the house, the teens all decide to investigate having quite clearly never watched The Evil Dead or any other such horror movie in their short, pitiful lives.
What they discover are all manner of oddities, curios and trinkets. Picking up a diary from the last century, one of the girls starts to read out loud and then all Hell quite literally begins to break loose!
But what is this? Who are the strange scientists watching everything going on and why are they taking bets? Could this all be the set-up for some bizarre reality show?
It is difficult to talk about The Cabin without giving anything away so, in my best River Song impression. all I will say is Spoilers!
One thing is certain, I am certainly impressed by what the Directors are trying to do here and, at times, it succeeds. But I DID leave this film feeling a tad disappointed!
What it tries to achieve is something very different but the inevitable twist which isn't really a twist is revealed way too early, like in the beginning, and the viewer can soon pretty much guess what is happening even if they are not yet sure how it is going to happen!
There are a lot of nice ideas here and the whole thing is an interesting concept but there are plot holes big enough to fly a big truck through and a gripping and bloodthirsty set piece towards the end fails to make up for all the films other faults.
I had heard mixed reviews of this but wanted to give it a go. I AM glad I did but I wouldn't watch this again. It is kind of okay but all a bit...blah!
If you are looking for a half-decent horror then this is ideal. It is scary only in the way 13 Ghosts or Ghost Ship were scary (so not at all then) but is .....okay, lets leave it at that.
You do get a pre-Thor Chris Helmworth though so there is something for the ladies (or men if your tendencies go that way) so its not all bad.
Overall though, hard-core horror fans should probably avoid this the same way they should avoid the Paranormal Activity series.
A good idea just ultimately feels wasted!
Star - Bradley Whitford (West Wing)
Genre - Horror
Run time - 95 minutes
Country - USA
Rental - £3.50 per night@Blockbusters
Amazon - £12.00 DVD (£10.99 BlueRay)
Like 'Tucker and Dale V Evil', the second best horror film of the last 12 months, this is like no other horror movie you will have seen, a real mishmash mash of genres and ideas, resulting in a very smart and delightfully humorous film. You may think you know how it will all pan out after twenty minutes or so but up goes the spinnaker and we are in a completely different genre, that of Sci-Fi, before we round the buoy and now it's a political conspiracy theory film, or maybe it's a comment on the exploitation of reality TV? With two more big tacks into the wind before the finish you will be giddy and opened mouth with the audacity of what you have just seen. Even in the last fifteen minutes you're not sure what you are watching, who is the villain or how on earth it will get to that finish.
Mark Kermode describes it as 'the first thinking mans slasher film', the sort of movie you would expect Aaron Sorkin to come up with, fitting as Bradley Whitford of the West Wing (he who plays ober smart spin doctor Josh Lyman) is in it, delivering some fabulous lines. It's written by Josh Wheldon of Firefly and Avengers fame in partnership with Drew Goddard of Lost and Cloverfield, a fabulous screenplay pair up we don't want to see broken if this is what they can do together. That mix of creative Sci-Fi and Horror minds works a treat and with a $30 million budget the boys have put together something clever and entertaining here.
Hadley: [sighs] These f**king zombies. Remember when you could just throw a girl in a volcano?
Kristen Connolly ... Dana
Chris Hemsworth ... Curt
Anna Hutchison ... Jules
Fran Kranz ... Marty
Jesse Williams ... Holden
Richard Jenkins ... Sitterson
Bradley Whitford ... Hadley
Brian White ... Truman
Amy Acker ... Lin
Dan Payne ... Mathew Buckner
Jodelle Ferland ... Patience Buckner
Dan Shea ... Father Buckner
Maya Massar ... Mother Buckner
Quote: Yeah, uh, I had to dismember that guy with a trowel. What have you been up to?
A group of college students are heading out to a cabin in the woods for a long weekend, the beers packed and the mobile home ready to go. Dana (Kristen Connolly) and Jules (Anna Hutchison) are squeezed into tight tops and cut off jeans whilst jocks Curt (Chris Hemsworth) and Truman (Brian White) are ready to exploit that intimate claustrophobia up in the woods, stoner Marty (Fran Kranz) the gooseberry and class clown of the piece. But unlike your bog standard slasher set up, here we see covert men in suits with radios and ear pieces watching them with binoculars as they depart the big city.
After settling in with some ghost stories and truth and dare as night arrives they are soon poking around in the creepy basement, the second dare. We then switch to a completely different location, a pristine clean hit-tec lit control room far away, full of important looking men and women in white coats with clipboards. It turns out the cabin in the woods is rigged with cameras and microphones watching the kids every move. But why? Around the world there are other locations with other kids being watched and manipulated by other men and women in white coats speaking many different languages.
The American kids are soon under attack by zombies, as you would expect in the cabin in the woods, the long deceased redneck Buckner family armed and dangerous, apparently summoned from the grave by one of the girls reading the dusty Latin text you never should in horror films. Back in the lab the head honcho's in white coats, Professor Hanley (Bradley Whitford) and Dr Sitterson (Richard Jenkins), are responsible for their zombie guests, running betting pools with the rest of the staff on how the kids will react to certain manipulated situations to amuse each other, the scientist able to make stuff happen in and around the cabin by pressing buttons and pulling various levers. But when the first student dies they are oddly still laughing, fully expecting it, this clearly no harmless government experiment or reality TV show. For whatever reason the kids have been locked into this cabin and won't be going home as their nightmare multiplies and multiplies.
Girl in white coat: That's not fair! I had zombies too!
Professor Sitterson: Yes, you had "Zombies." But this is "Zombie Redneck Torture Family." Entirely separate thing. It's like the difference between an elephant and an elephant seal"
This is the best horror film of the year, simple as. In fact it's the best since [REC]; a really creepy Spanish demonic possession affair that went fairly unnoticed in 2008, earning a rare 5 stars from yours truly. This is not quite five but not far short.
I love the multifaceted construction of it, the witty dialogue and insertions of previous horror movies clues and clichés for the kids to ponder to hint at their coming doom a clever surreal twist, the way the brilliant League of Gentleman get their laughs. It's just on a different level to any other American horror in recent years. I think Jeepers Creepers was the last American film in the genre I enjoyed.
The signs were good from the off with that pairing up of Josh Whedon and Drew Goddard, Firefly and Cloverfield ahead of their time and inventive smart movies. Cabin in the Woods is an instant classic, endlessly clever and thrilling, more twists than a trapeze artists hernia! There's schlock blood and guts for genre fans and that clever dialogue for the older thinking movie fan. You will chuckle out loud as Bradley Whitford and Richard Jenkins (its Richard Schiff in all but name) do the witty retort West Wing thing in front of their CCTV monitors and blinking consul lights as the film skillfully reveals its multiple dimensions like a master slight of hand magician at work. But what I like most about this is people who love and cherish film have tried to entertain us with something original and cerebral, the horror genre far too lazy for too long. It's just such a clever idea to mix in that cynicism of Reality TV exploitation, political internet paranoia and mainstream horror.
Its looks great for its $30 million budget and has doubled its money back to take $65 million, word of mouth like ours sure to push this towards the $100m off the back of the DVD sales. It's the standout film on the Blockbuster shelves for you to rent for Halloween week. All too often horror films have been made just for this time of the year in the knowledge mostly female customers will rent them just on the evidence of the cover alone (come on girls you know you do) and so a return guaranteed but most just shameless duff. If I were you I would rent this film tomorrow and celebrate filmmakers who get it. It's a belter!
Imdb.com - 7.3/10.0 (101,488)
Metacritc.com - 72% critic's approval
Rottentomatos.com - 91% critic's approval
Rolling Stone - 'If it's true that you always kill the thing you love, then horror honchos Joss Whedon and Drew Goddard have taken an ax to slasher cinema in The Cabin in the Woods and chopped it up for kindling'.
The Guardian - 'Quite a bit of it is great, and most of it works, and the stuff that clicks is outrageously entertaining and funny, sometimes with surprising depth'.
The Seattle Times -' A surprisingly entertaining effort that works because it strikes a smart balance - embracing as well as rejecting viewer expectations and knowledge of the horror genre'.
The Los Angeles Times -'Just take my word on it, this film rocks. If you are disillusioned with the state of modern horror (and you should be) this is just the shot in the arm the genre has needed'.
BBC Film - 'Unflinching as it is unconventional; this gory composite of multiple genres also might be the first thinking man's slasher film'.
Ok so I finally got to watch this movie yesterday and it is a little like Marmite where people either love it or hate it. I have to be careful in this review not to put any spoilers, but there may be slight spoilers here so be warned when continuing to read.
The True(not) story of a group of friends that go to a mysterious cabin in the middle of nowhere that is not all what it seems....
Kristen Connolly - Dana
Chris Hemsworth - Curt
Anna Hutchison - Jules
Fran Kranz - Marty
Jesse Williams - Holden
Well if anyone has seen a typical american horror film they pretty much know how it goes, especially in one like this where the group of teens/young adults go off to a secluded area. One by one they get picked off. This movie is like that except its laughing at these movies by having these moments but making them very obvious and it was clearly what the director Joss Whedon was trying to achieve. They are all there, with the happy faces at the begining, through to the random redkneck warning them of the dangers to come and directing them on the way, through the little scares in the cabin before they start getting picked off. It is quite amusing and a lot of comedic moments are added.
However I still think although its cool what Whedon done here, ultimately it was just boring as we knew for the first 75% of the movie what was going to happen, then the movie goes all crazy and there is well what some people might call a twist. I have to be careful here not to ruin anything, but lets just say that you won't be able to guess it. Does this make it good, well yes and no. I guess it is something new but at the same time just ultra unrealistic. There are plenty of people that will ignore the unrealism and be like hey its just a movie, however I am not one of them.
In terms of the acting it was pretty standard. No one in particular stands out but there was not much bad acting apart from the on purpose bad acting horror movie that Joss Whedon put in. It was a well made and well directed movie so I give it some credit for this and it is worth a watch.
Overall I would give this three stars but I can see how some people may give it 1 star and others may give it 5. However to those that give it 5 stars I ask is it really a 5 star movie. A movie that is exceptional on all accounts. A kid could have wrote that plot. For me 5 star movies are the best movies of all time and very few movies deserve that rating, this most definetily in my opinion does not.
Before Cabin in the Woods was released everyone I knew was raving about it, considering most of them are massive zomnie film fans I figured it would be just another horror along the lines of everything I have seen before. Ha! I was wrong on this one.
I purposely didn't watch any trailers or read anything about it as I thought it would just reveal everything and then the film wouldn't be worth watching. I am glad I did that as I had one hell of a surprise while watching it.
Next step in the excitement ladder was finding out it was written by Josh Whedon (of Buffy, Angel, Avengers fame). Whedon has a habit of writing good humour and gets the best chemistry oout of his characters so was starting to really look forward to it at this point.
A bit about the actors.
The five teenagers who go off to the cabin are played by a couple of 'unknowns', Chris Hemsworth (better known as Thor), a guy who was in Dollhouse (another Whedon series) and a bloke out of Greys Anatomy (not a Whedon series but I hear it is hugely popular). You also have a bunch of other characters played by actors you have probably seen around as they have bit parts in hundreds of TV shows between them and then there's Amy Acker (of Angel fame).
Five teenage college students head of for a long weekend in a cabin in the woods. Do these kids never watch horror movies? Does no one warn them? Going off to the middle of nowhere on a 'getaway' is the first sign something is going to try and kill you, eat you or both. Then you get the bit where one teenager does something silly and it attracts unwanted attention. Enter bad things, spookiness and all other varieties of horror movie stuff.
And then it really actually gets going and gets interesting.
Of course I am not going to spoil it for you and tell you any more but it is a bloody good film and I highly recommend it. My other half doesn't even like horror movies and he loved it. Buy it, watch it and then watch it again!
Okay, The Cabin in the Woods: where do I begin?! This is the most bizarre film I have ever seen in my life, and I've seen a fair few! I don't actually know at this moment in time what I thought of it! Part of me thought it was the biggest pile of rubbish I had ever seen (I couldn't actually believe what I was watching at not one point but a few points through the film!), but on the other hand I watched it to the very end and was intrigued by it so I can't 100% say I didn't enjoy it in some way.
To start with I'll say that I didn't really know a lot about the film before I started watching it. I knew it was a horror of some kind, and I vaguely remember back to last year hearing things in its marketing campaign that it was a totally new style of horror, but when I started to watch it I couldn't work out if I had remembered wrong! I was unsure if the film I was watching was a spoof horror, a comedy or a horror!
The Cabin in the Woods is your usual teen horror I guess. It ticks all the right boxes in the beginning and could be any other horror film out there. It follows five friends who travel to a remote cabin for a weekend away. You have the hot blonde, the buff jock, a joker and two 'normal' ones. On their journey they meet the obligatory weirdo at the service station before carrying on their journey through the obligatory isolated forest! Check! The film was shot in Canada so the scenery is breathtaking and if you get nothing else out of the film, at least it looked pretty! Well it looked pretty until they arrived at the dreaded cabin that is! Things quickly don't seem right and strange things start happening such as a trap door to a spooky cellar flying open seemingly all on its own.
There are two things going on throughout the film, and this is where it gets a bit weird for me! You have the dark, spooky atmosphere at the Cabin, and literally it will be building up to a moment of suspense and the scene will change to a group of office workers in a high security vault who appear to be controlling through a series of buttons and a number of TV screens the events in the cabin. The first time this happened, I actually thought for a split second something had gone wrong with the film and the reels had been changed or something, it was really weird!
Apart from explaining about the controllers and the weird goings on in the cabin, I won't explain anything else, except to say it is totally bizarre! When the spooky goings on actually turn into the real thing I just couldn't believe what I was seeing! It does get slightly better as the concept of the film and what it is getting at becomes apparent but I would imagine a fair few people will decide to switch off the film when it is released on DVD / TV, before it gets to that point to be honest!
The writers of the film who had worked together on Buffy the Vampire Slayer wrote the screenplay in 3 days and to be honest, you can tell! They attempted to capture the slasher film genre and use aspects of torture porn.... Yes really! The budget for the film was $30 million which they easily recouped back with an estimated $65 million made at the box office, but I think the budget wasn't well spent. For a start we had Chris Helmsworth taking one of the lead roles (Thor), and bizarrely we also have Sigourney Weaver making an appearance. I imagine these two won't have come cheap so it surprises me that the film makers chose to use them when we have some pretty bad attempts at CGI going on. We have one pretty bad scene which sticks out, when the gang make their way to the cabin they drive along a tunnel on a mountains edge, an owl flies past which straight away you can see is bad CGI and then the van they are travelling in comes out of the tunnel, again a pretty poor attempt at CGI, the van looked like Scooby Doo's mystery wagon or whatever it was called and me and my husband actually looked at one another and laughed. That's how bad it was!
So, would I recommend it? I'm not 100% sure to be honest. I'm not entirely sure what the film was trying to achieve and I don't think it knew what type of film it was. Maybe I'm looking at it too critically as I studied film and concepts for my degree but even so I'm just not entirely convinced by it. The ending was just appalling, really really bad! On the other hand the characters were really likeable and the concept (overall) was quite good and certainly different. I haven't seen the film but I've read the Hunger Games books and the controller aspect reminded me a little of that, while the journey into the woods, etc reminded me of Wrong Turn. I would suggest giving it a try and making up your own mind. I haven't read the other reviews but I flicked through peoples ratings and they were 4 or 5 stars, and it has quite a high rating on imdb and rotten tomatoes so maybe I'm just getting old and boring! Give it a try but expect more laugh out loud moments than scream out loud! A bit tongue in cheek I think.
I was extremely excited to hear about this film coming out and that is mainly because Joss Whedon is amazing in my opinion. He gave u Buffy the Vampire Slayer which I love and Angel so him doing a film was a great prospect. The trailers for this show it to be a scary movie with a secret but here is what I think without giving too much away.
The film shows us two perspectives of what is happening. One is that five friends take a trip to a remote cabin in the woods (hence the title) which is a family members cabin where they plan to get drunk and generally party. The second shows us a secretive government facility in which two guys are watching and scrutinising the friends through a series of secret cameras. From this facility they are able to manipulate the friends.
That is all I am giving you for the story as I don't want to give any spoilers away. All I can say is that this film does change the horror genre quite a bit and I did not expect anything that happened so go see it without thinking too much about it and you will have fun.
The actors and characters are all quite likeable. The main attraction seems to be Chris Hemsworth who plays the jock of the group and I love him from Thor so I loved him in this. They are stereotypical characters from as horror movie though so that makes the film fun. The government facility cast are impressive. Richard Jenkins and Bradley Whitford are both amazing and Amy Acker is brilliant. Its nice to see Whedon uses his Buffy and Angel stars in everything he does.
Now the film lasts for just 95 minutes which I think is about right which means the pace never lets up which is good. You can pre-order it from Amazon now for £10 on DVD as it is released in September.
In conclusion I loved this film. I am a big fan of Joss Whedon anyway and this film really showcases his abilities. I am sorry I cannot really give many more details as it really wqould spoil the movie but if you like fantasy horror and Whedon you ll love this movie. What I have to say though is that if you are expecting a typical slasher flick horror movie which I know many were then you will be dissapointed.
Five massive stars for me.
About the film
The Cabin in the Woods is an American horror/ thriller film that was released at the cinema in the UK on 13th April. The film is rated 15 due to scenes of horror, violence and extreme gore and it has a run time of 95 minutes. The Cabin in the Woods is produced and co-written by Joss Whedon.
As five university students head off to a secluded cabin in the woods for the weekend, they think they are in for some fun and relaxation. They arrive to find that the cabin is extremely isolated with no communication available to the outside world. As their time there gets under way and they begin to explore the house, strange and old relics and curiosities are found. While reading from a book found in the cellar, Dana manages to read a passage written in Latin and awakens a family of crazy zombies. From here, there is much more going on behind the scenes than meets the eye and the teenagers are in a fight for survival whilst others watch...
Kristen Connolly as Dana Polk
Chris Hemsworth as Curt Vaughn
Anna Hutchison as Jules Louden
Fran Kranz as Marty Mikalski
Jesse Williams as Holden McCrea
Richard Jenkins as Gary Sitterson
Bradley Whitford as Steve Hadley
Brian White as Daniel Truman
Amy Acker as Wendy Lin
Sigourney Weaver as The Director
What I thought
Although a big fan of Joss Whedon, I had not seen a trailer for this film. The night that I saw this, my friend and I had two for one tickets for the cinema but unfortunately, we couldn't use them on the film we wanted and so we picked this instead, with it being the next film to start. From the look of the poster, I thought that this was just going to be another horror film but I did think that it was a bit strange for Whedon to do something conforming to a certain genre.
The film begins as many other teen horror films would, with a group of young and beautiful characters getting ready to spend some time together. The group are about to head to a remote cabin in the woods for a weekend. The beginning of the film is light-hearted and fun with time given to getting to know the characters. I liked being able to get a feel for who was who and what they stood for. Compared to other horror films, this one does establish its characters quickly which makes you hope for the best for them early on. Usually, films like this don't care too much about a character's personality and while this one doesn't go into too much depth, it does at least do something.
While the characters are clichéd, they are done so in a way that made me really like them. There is the obvious jock, beautiful girl, brainiac and the stoner. I actually loved that these characters were used because this is something that Whedon is known for; taking a genre specific idea and playing with it to the extreme or taking it to new lengths. I actually really liked the whole cast for the most part, although Kristen Connolly who plays Dana was a little stiff at times. Chris Hemsworth as Curt Vaughn was a great choice, as he fits the jock stereotype well but his character also has a lot more depth than I had imagined it to. Fran Kranz as Marty Mikalski was by far my favourite character as the typical stoner who was not at all stupid or ditzy even though he was portrayed as the dumb stoner. Each of these cast members work really well together and their chemistry was great.
As the gang head out to the cabin and get closer, it becomes clear that something isn't right. The cabin is far more secluded than they thought and there really isn't anything around for miles and miles. Also, as they get closer to the cabin, some strange things are shown regarding the surrounding area. There is some strange kind of force field surrounding the land and we get to see early on that the house and characters are actually being watched and that they have no idea what they're really in for. This twist on the horror genre was a bit of a shock to me but once it kicked it, it clearly had Whedon's name all over it. He likes to turn things on their heads and invent new and different ideas, which is why I love him so much. With everything of his that I watch, I am always surprised at something. The people watching appear to be a part of some big organisation although this is never really explained. In a room filled with TV screens are two men seemingly having some control over what happens.
Our characters don't realise what is happening straight away though. Their time at the cabin starts quite well, even after discovering a strange one way window/ mirror. Protagonist Dana is being set up with Curt's friend Holden so there is a lot of getting to know each other going on. The group are having fun, getting stoned and drunk... until the cellar door pops open. This is where Joss Whedon's genius really kicks in. In the cellar are all kinds of strange objects and by reading something out loud in Latin, Dana manages to summon up a group of crazed hick family zombies. These scenes are funny and also shocking but mostly, the zombies bring something funny and scary at the same time to the film.
The Cabin in the Woods manages to go from normal horror film to an insane masterpiece in a matter of seconds with one big twist in the plot. Still though, there are horror specific aspects kept in to keep the die-hard horror films happy but there is so much more to this film. I think that it's quite hard to explain exactly why I loved this film so much without completely giving away some big things surrounding the plot and the twists. To sum up, The Cabin in the Woods is jumpy, funny and extremely original. It shocked the hell out of me and I couldn't quite believe what I ended up watching but it is definitely my favourite film of the year so far.
Here is a film to watch preferably without knowing a single thing about it. Don't even watch the trailer. The posters rightfully won't tell you much about the film. Be surprised. Be amazed. Be confused. Be impressed. Because "The Cabin in the Woods" will surprise you. It will amaze you. It will confuse you. And it will impress you. You think you can predict what's going to happen? You think you've seen enough horror films to master the recipe? You're wrong. "The Cabin in the Woods" will prove you wrong. And you won't be blamed for thinking that you know what's going on. Because the Joss Whedon-produced horror flick starts like any other.
There are five youngsters. Five attractive, fun-seeking men and women are going for an adrenaline-rushing adventure in the middle of nowhere, of course. There's the smart and sweet girl (Dana - Kristen Connolly). Check. There's the horny, slutty girl (Jules - Anna Hutchinson). Check. There's the sporty guy (Curt - Chris Hemsworth, that guy who plays "Thor"!). Check. There's the handsome academic who everyone is trying to romantically link with Dana (Holden - Jesse Williams). Check. And for comic relief, there's the pot-smoking nerd (Marty - Fran Kranz). Check. And did I mention these friends meet a scary-looking, demented man who tries to warn the five individuals NOT to go to their holiday cabin? It's the classic horror set-up. They ignore the classic warnings, and decide to press on. Bad idea, but this is what happens in horror films. The protagonists make choices that aren't wise. They quite literally walk into their deaths.
So far so good right? They end up in the remote cabin, and slowly but surely, weird things start happening. Odd noises, odd basement, odd developments interfere with their plan to have a good getaway. And this is all I will say on the plot. Any more from this will certainly ruin the film's many, many more twists and turns. Just know that the cast is much larger than the five principal actors that make up the first few scenes. You might notice some of the faces, such as Richard Jenkins, Bradley Whitford ("The West Wing") and Amy Acker ("Angel"). Okay, to heck with it, I can't resist. There's an underground lab. In fact, the film opens with a shot of Jenkins, Whitford and Acker as employees of this lab having a casual, work-related conversation. How these people fit into the plot will be too much to give away. But again, you will not see this one coming.
Even after the trailers and various television spots, what "The Cabin in the Woods" is so brilliant in doing is keeping up the suspense. It piles on the action, the horror, and surprisingly the humour. This mix, shown so consistently in Whedon's hit shows "Buffy the Vampire Slayer" and "Angel" keeps the energy pumping and it's a clever blend that brings up one bizarre incident after another. But these sequences, do they have anything to do with the aforementioned lab? These choices the characters are making, are they of their own free will? The audience is never told until the crucial final moments, and without any sudden, immediate clues, the grand finale hits, something that is so amazingly bonkers that again, you will never see it coming.
"The Cabin in the Woods" is a real mother of all horror films. It's a loving, hating tribute to the genre. It loves the clichés the many predecessors in the past have built up for us over the years. It proudly embraces them, loves them and gently tweaks them for further use and cunning little devices. And the last half an hour or so will really blow you away. It's scary, it's utterly mad, it's blood-soaked and most important of all, it makes sense. Would you have expected that from a modern-day horror film? Everything adds up. Characters have motives, questions are raised, and there are many, to which there are perfectly reasonable, respectable answers. Some of the ideas may be far-fetched; which is why some audience members may find it difficult to grasp. This may also explain why cinema-goers are polarised over the ending and the series of explanations.
But Drew Goddard, in his first feature debut, keeps every character intact, and is incredibly successful in sustaining the fresh narrative. He even benefits from a surprise cameo that hits unexpectedly. There are so many imaginative ideas that fly off the script and hit you hard. The more you know about horror films and the bigger horror-movie buff you are, the more you will enjoy the ending. Everything comes together (and take from this what you will), and we end up with such a spectacular, awe-inspiring scene of absolute chaos. And it's the kind of messy, chaotic extravaganza that amounts to a whole boatload of fun.
Keeping up the impressive factor is its good-looking young cast. They all fir their roles well, in both their appearances and performances. The longest lasting one here is of course the sensible girl (because as we all know from countless horror films that the slut and the jock are the first couple to disappear), and Connolly makes for the perfect good girl to root for. She's sweet and sensible enough, but also with some steel and guts when required, qualities Connolly possesses and is not afraid to show off. Another outstanding performance comes from Kranz, who is the priceless source of comedy in his doped up, high-pitched squeaky presence.
Enter with an open mind. And be prepared to be dazzled by this ambitious, unique effort. Of course, there are some implausible moments that don't quite add up some of the continuity errors. But even so, you must appreciate a breath of originality to the script with the shocks and body count that continue to rise. With one revelatory tale after another, "The Cabin in the Woods" is one of the first essential films of 2012. I cannot stress enough just how exceptional every aspect of the film is. But it's important for your ultimate enjoyment factor that you know very little. Don't let anyone spoil it for you, you will regret it. And for horror-movie buffs, welcome to heaven, this is the movie event that you have all been waiting for.
~~~~~ This is a film only review as The cabin in the woods was only released theatrically in the UK on firday the 13th of April ~~~~~
I love a good horror movie but they are so few and far between these days with most of them being either just plain bad or else a rip off of something else.
I was excited to see the cabin in the woods after seeing the trailer and reading that it was a new kind of horror movie that takes a conventional set up and turns it on its head. After seeing the film at the cinema I was in two minds whether it was genius or if it was just plain bad but the one thing it wasn't was boring and it has kept me thinking about it since I saw it.
It is difficult to talk about the plot too much with fear of giving anything away but I was disappointed that the big twist to the movie is literally revealed minutes after the opening credits. It is quite a clever and unusual plot but I really think it would have been much more impactful if it had been revealed half an hour into the movie during a pivotal scene. I had already guessed the twist thanks to the trailer but I looked forward to there being another big reveal later on in the movie as it was being marketed as this big twist movie that would reinvent the horror movie. Unfortunately I was left disappointed as there were no other big twists to come other than a couple of minor reveals which weren't all that impactful to the film.
The movie does do a good job of taking a clichéd horror movie premise of a group of good looking teenagers spending a weekend in a secluded cabin and subverting the storyline from what we all know and expect and there are some really interesting ideas in the movie but at times it seemed as though the filmmakers were throwing every idea in their heads at the film and seeing what would stick.
The move comes from the mind of Joss Whedon who is the man behind Buffy the vampire slayer and to be honest I could see the plot of this movie fitting in well with that show.
The script is clever and funny but it is rarely scary and even the jumpy moments were few and far between. It managed to hold my interest from start to finish and was quite frenetic in how it was directed. There are no dull moments in the film and it was all fast and furious throughout. The director is a guy called Drew Goddard and he does a good job of directing all the action on screen. Everything looks amazing from the beginning which is reminiscent of a 1980's slasher movie to the ending which is more like something from mission impossible.
Although there is little in the way of scares the film is very gory in parts with bucket loads of blood and gore but this is played more for laughs than scares.
The largely unknown cast all do a good job of portraying their respective generic horror movie characters (the nice guy jock, the blonde bimbo, the virgin, the nerd and the loveable stoner). The most well-known actor in the film is without a doubt the Australian actor Chris Hemsworth who since filming this went on to find fame as Thor in the Marvel comic book film revival and will be seen in a slew of summer blockbusters this year. He does an excellent job and really has star quality when on screen so I'm not surprised he has managed to break out and become a star. However the film is stolen by Fran Kratz who plays stoner Marty the stoner with such gusto that you can't help rooting for him to save the day.
The cabin in the woods was made over 3 years ago and sat on a shelf waiting a release. This usually indicates that a movie is so bad that the studio has absolutely no faith in it. This isn't the case here and the cabin in the woods is an interesting if flawed film but it packs in more into 20 minutes of screen time than most films manage in 2 hours. I think my biggest problem with the film is that I had such high expectations that the film couldn't live up to them. It was still an enjoyable film but it had the potential to be a great horror movie that people would talk about for years to come. As it is I really don't think the film will be remembered as being a particularly high point in the genre which is a shame as with a bit of trimming and editing I really think it could have been a future classic.
For me personally I think that the film was fun and interesting and there were some great ideas up on the screen but it just fell a bit below my expectations. The other people in the cinema with me seemed to enjoy it and there were plenty of laughs and even a few screams. Aficionados of the genre will appreciate all the knowing winks to previous films and the clever script will have you seeing how many of the well-known horror clichés you can spot in the film. The ending is also a bit of a departure from traditional Hollywood movies and without spoiling the plot it doesn't really end well for everyone involved which honestly did make a nice change from the usual heroine/hero saving the day.
Even though I have been a bit scathing in parts of my review I would still recommend that you go and see the film especially if you are a fan of horror movies. Some people may not enjoy the fact that it is such a complete departure from what you might expect going in to the film but other people will absolutely love it. Either way the film will keep you entertained and it is good to support movies with genuine innovative and original ideas instead of the generic rubbish that keeps getting churned out. I personally plan on seeing the film again when it comes out on DVD as I am curious to hear the commentary that I hope will accompany it and hear more about all the ideas the film makers had. I also think that I will probably enjoy it more on a second viewing at home now that I know what to expect.
Runtime: 95 mins
Director: Drew Goddard
Writer: Drew Goddard and Jos Wheadon
Cast: Chris Hemsworth
UK rating: 15
Faced with a mountain of maths revision and a ticking clock, I really needed something to take my mind off things. When trying to decide what movie to watch, I often consult Rotten Tomatoes as their ratings come from a combination of critics and seeing that The Cabin in the Woods had been giving a significantly high rating of 91%, I decided this was the film for me. I had absolutely no idea what this film was about prior to watching it, though it is pretty obvious from the title and the promotional adverts that it is a horror movie.
Horror movies of the 2010s tend to focus on teenagers and involve a lot of stupid actions leading to a lot of bloodshed. In many ways, The Cabin in the Woods follows this stereotype; however, the difference is that this is a movie of high quality with brilliant acting and a superbly surprising plot twist. After watching the movie I decided to do a bit more research about the film's background and I discovered that it was co-written and produced by Joss Whedon. Yep, the same guy who wrote the screenplay for Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Alien Resurrection, X-Men, Thor, Captain America and last, but by no means least, the highly acclaimed and recently released: The Avengers.
There's little I can say about the plot line without ruining it for future viewers, but here is a very simple precis: five friends head off to a remote cabin in the woods for the weekend. If you've seen the trailer for The Cabin in the Woods, then you may have an inkling about what this film entails; however, with absolutely no prior knowledge of this film, I was really quite surprised and pleased by what the plot turned out to be. With someone as talented as Joss Whedon behind the script, I now understand how this slightly unbelievable plot line was taken seriously. There's actually a mixing of modern and ancient horror (part of the plot twist) in this movie and it was perfectly written to balance the two. Now this is a quote that I've stolen from the trailer, but I think it perfectly sums up this film:
You think you know the story.
You think you know the place.
Out of the five protagonists of this movie, the only one that I'd heard of before was Chris Hemsworth. I was quite surprised to see someone who was so famous in the film industry co-starring alongside a lot of newbies, but these fairly inexperienced actors certainly surpassed expectations. They are clearly mature actors, not the sort who can only play naive teenagers - though they showed that they can also do this when required - and they made me believe every emotion that they felt, be it happiness or fear. There were actually quite a lot of comic moments in this film, mainly brought by the character Marty Mikalski (Fran Kranz) which worked really well alongside the horror and showed that these actors can apply their skills to a variety of genres. I think I'll be keeping a watch on these budding young actors, I mean, they've already worked with Joss Whedon and Chris Hemsworth, who knows what's next for them?
I thought for the most part that the visual effects were very good apart from one unfortunate relapse where the special effects just weren't up to scratch - thankfully this scene only lasts for about 5 seconds. Whilst some elements of this are quite gory, I never once doubted the reality of them as I have in many other horror movies. Surprisingly there is a huge range of monsters and weird creatures in this movie and though they don't spend a lot of time on screen, they're still frightening as hell.
I did actually find this movie very scary at times. There were lots of moments when I jumped in my seat and I spent quite a lot of the night cowering under the bed sheets, but it was worth it. For anyone who's not sure about this movie, I highly recommend that you give it a chance. If you, like me, are sick of seeing the standard American horror movie where all the teenagers have sex and then die with fake blood spurting everywhere, then this is the film for you. You may find yourself wondering in the first 5 minutes what exactly is different about this movie, but it quickly becomes apparent as to what to undercutting plot line is, so don't give up on it.