There is no doubt that everyone who has seen The Cabin in the Woods immediately wants to discuss it as much as possible. Unfortunately, as every film journalist in the world has since discovered, this cannot be done without spoiling the joys of the film itself. So let’s just say five teenagers go into the woods for weekend cabin break and it all goes a bit wrong.
Now, if you’ve seen the trailer, you’ll know that all of the traditional horror tropes are there, but this time something’s a little different. And what occurs is the most spectacular and intriguing deconstruction of the horror genre since Wes Craven’s Scream.
It takes a little while to realize, but the fact that you can’t talk about The Cabin in the Woods without spoiling the premise speaks volumes about the level of innovation on show here. It instills you with a desire to pick each scene apart, analysing what it has to say as well as praising its imagination and sheer craziness. Its also a true horror fan’s dream, there are references everywhere and extra kudos must go to a film that manages to nod its head towards The Ring and Hellraiser in the same breath.
References aside, writers Whedon and Goddard clearly have some interesting things to say about both the horror genre in general and the nature of youth within society, but their main aim here is ensuring something much more important; that the audience has fun. As the film lurches from left to right it provides shocks at every turn and it’s this constant pursuit of trying to raise a whoop of delight that ensures its accessibility for non-horror fans.
It does suffer from the problem, particularly in the earlier stages, of being a touch too clever. It makes you so aware of the way horror movies work that it’s subsequent attempts at fright often fail to hit the mark. This, however, does nothing to hamper the success The Cabin in the Woods has in turning your expectations upside down and then inside out. Films that are this thought provoking and entertaining at the same time are a rarity; make sure this one doesn’t pass you by.