Starring: Chris Hemsworth, Amy Acker, Kristen Connolly, Anna Hutchison
Directed by Drew Godard
What do you get when you take a meagerly budgeted horror flick co-written by Joss Whedon and starring Thor and a yellow Power Ranger? Well it could go one of many ways. It could go Firefly or Buffy The Vampire Slayer way, or it could go Astonishing X-Men. So what do you get? The answer is…
This film takes all the tropes of the classic horror film and riffs on them without spoofing them. It adds a heaping helping of gore, a ton of clever comedy, and even a message to get your brain working. As far as the message goes it’s difficult to discuss without getting too much into spoiler territory. Suffice it to say that Whedon and co. doesn’t have too much faith in the modern young adult’s sense of morality and, to riff on Mr. Spock from Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan, the needs of the many versus the needs of the one. It’s a pretty interesting little nugget of conversation that you just don’t expect from the typical current generation horror film. It would be interesting to sit down with some young people and discuss their feelings on the film and what it has to say.
The story follows a stereotypical group of early twenty something’s out for a weekend at a secluded cabin. Sure the story sounds retro and so is the group of teens. There’s the virgin, the jock, the slut, and the stoner. If you take a minute to consider this group would you believe that this eclectic mix would ever spend a weekend together? You’re right they probably wouldn’t. Newer horror films tend to be more realistic with their groups of “victims”. The problem is a more realistic group of young people out for a trip means that they are all pretty much the same personality type. Yes that’s generalizing but we only have an hour and a half or so here. So with that in mind this unrealistic group works for the story and has for the last 30 years give or a take a few years. Also, the stoner often steals the show here by chewing some serious scenery.
At any rate the group finds more than they bargained for at the cabin and in a very short amount of time a family of zombies begins killing them off. The trailers revealed early on that there’s more to this film than just a horror riff. For every element of horror there’s on of science fiction. The sci-fi elements follow a familiar pattern of ancient evil utilizing modern and futuristic technology as a means to an end but the implementation of those elements in this film are completely fresh and unbelievably entertaining. For every scare there’s an equally successful scare and be warned this movie is pretty damned gory.
That’s really about all I can say about Cabin in the Woods without spoiling some really fantastic surprises. In a year that has already featured some entertaining films this one may be the best of the year so far. Whedon and his team were on fire writing the script and the execution by director Drew Godard (co-writer of Cloverfield, writer on LOST, producer of Alias) is spot on. Whedon and Godard are a team to contend with for sure. Look for some classic Whedon actors in this film but not in a wink wink nudge nudge way. These are just people he likes to work with.