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Not your average Cabin in the Woods story...
The Cabin in the Woods (DVD)
Member Name: linzeelou
The Cabin in the Woods (DVD)
Advantages: Amazing all round
Disadvantages: Nothing 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.
Summary: A great film