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The Cabin in the Woods

The Cabin in the Woods

Released 13 April 2012
Director Drew Goddard

Chris Hemsworth, Kristen Connolly, Anna Hutchinson, Fan Kranz, Richard Jenkins
Writer(s) Joss Whedon, Drew Goddard
Producer(s) Joss Whedon
Origin United States
Running Time 95 minutes
Genre Horror, thriller
Rating 16

Cabin fever!

This review really is a tricky one to write up. My overall intention is to get you, good reader, to drop what you’re doing and go see The Cabin in the Woods but at the same time I don’t want to ruin any of the fun of a truly unexpected pleasure. The trailer certainly doesn’t promise much; we see the usual bunch of nubile youngsters (including Thor) heading to a remote cabin for a weekend of mild debauchery. On the way they encounter the traditionally sinister local yokel who warns them that danger awaits. Then, a hint of something different; this old cabin features modern touches like a two way mirror and in the skies above, an eagle is vaporised by an invisible forcefield.

Horror fans will immediately leap to the conclusion (as we are prone to do) that the film will be a tedious mash-up of ‘70s slasher and tired voyeurism in the vein of Saw. It could be easily written off there and then if it wasn’t for the appearance of the name Joss Whedon; writer of two of the best television series of all time (Buffy the Vampire Slayer and the unjustly cancelled Firefly). Whedon is a man who puts his unique brand of wit and imagination into everything he does and his fingerprints are all over The Cabin in the Woods. The result is a playful, exciting and frequently laugh out loud funny trip into a world where nightmares are very real. I don’t want to reveal much more about the plot but needless to say, the film has a greater scope than that little cabin.

Sharing writing credits and taking the directorial helm is Drew Goddard. Goddard has worked with Whedon before on both Buffy and the spin off series Angel so they are clearly on the same wavelength. The script fizzles with one liners while the screen is a playground of splatter that culminates in a spectacularly OTT finale. The cast are uniformly great (although some of them admittedly don’t last long), though the highlight is a great double act between Richard Jenkins and Bradley Whitford...who aren’t even featured in the trailer.

So don’t let its self modest marketing and glib title fool you - The Cabin in the Woods is whip smart and above all incredibly fun.

- Linda O’Brien