Natalie Stendall Film Review: Cabin in the Woods is twist on classic horror

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Fans of television series ‘Buffy’ and ‘Angel’ welcomed the release of Joss Whedon’s latest film creation, Cabin in the Woods.

Co-written by the Buffy and Angel creator and long time series writer Drew Goddard, who also directs the movie, Cabin in the Woods is a twist on classic horror that is both quirky and fun.

Cabin in the Woods’ trailers and official plot synopsis give away only limited details. Five, very stereotypical, college friends go to a woodland cabin for a short vacation and horrific things begin to happen. But this is not all there is to Cabin in the Woods. It is a movie that has many surprises to offer. Although the secrecy about the plot is a deliberate attempt to save the film’s genre-bending twists for the cinema experience, it seriously endangers Cabin in the Woods’ credibility in the eyes of potential viewers. This secrecy is certainly a good decision for those who actually see the movie, but perhaps a poor one for those who will be put off by the trailer and miss out.

Whedon and Goddard’s genre-bending does make the first twenty minutes or so of Cabin in the Woods hard to place and the audience is likely to fall into one of two camps, finding it either interesting or confusing. Shaky performances from the five cabin goers during their early scenes also weakens the opening. But, once Cabin in the Woods gets going, it becomes near impossible not to fall for its characters, its approach and its intrigue, dragging its audience completely into its bizarre version of reality.

A major plus for Cabin in the Woods is that it doesn’t rely on one single twist. Movies that do this are typically enjoyable only once, returned to the dvd shelf never to be watched again. But Cabin in the Woods hints at its twist from the very beginning, unveiling its secrets gradually. This is a trait that is likely to make Cabin in the Woods enjoyable even after multiple viewings.

Cabin in the Woods’ horror is convincing and well put together. But the film is also incredibly funny and there are moments when it feels like a hilarious spoof. The script is also brimming with Whedon-speak and this flair for invented language gives the dialogue an exciting, original feel.

But I’ll bring myself to a halt now, before I go on to spoil the very well kept secrets of this film that you should enjoy for yourselves. Cabin in the Woods is original, creative and funny. It is also quite weird and constantly surprising. Disregard what you’ve seen in the very misleading trailer and see it if you’re a fan of quirky, imaginative meta-horror, or simply want to be surprised.

Film: Cabin in the Woods

Certificate: 15

Running Time: 95 minutes

Verdict: Seriously Good ✭✭✭✭