If you go down to the woods today, you’re sure of a big surprise; but no teddy bear ever had a picnic anywhere near like ‘The Cabin in the Woods’. I will keep any surprises tightly under wraps, because it’s not long into proceedings before you get a feel for what’s going on; but the biggest surprise about this superb pseudo horror is how well it works as several movies in one; and without being able to define it as one or the other, it still manages to be brilliant and fresh when every cliché in the book is cleverly and parodically used.
I am purposely keeping this review of The Cabin in the Woods short and my recommendation is to just go and see it because firstly, there’s a lot written out there that could easily spoil things for you and secondly, it’s almost impossible to define what type of movie it is. Even if I tried to categorise it, I would likely diminish any mystery that is quite early and blatantly given away, but doesn’t spoil anything about the bigger revelations to come.
The plot appears simple, five teenagers, all covering the not so broad horror spectrum of college kids are going away for the weekend for the usual frolics to Chris Hemsworth’s (Thor) cousin’s cabin in the woods and the expected survival horror ensues, but with an inventive twist.
The cabin is like every wooden country cottage ever seen in a horror movie and looks like it was built by the same log splitting crew who built the shack of ‘The Evil Dead’, one of the many nods to classic horror flicks, but this one is different with far bigger and ‘deeper’ secrets in it and beneath it.
Where ‘The Cabin in the Woods’ flags is that it’s more of a parody of the many genres it takes its lead from than a genuinely terrifying entry into horror, but I’m not absolutely certain it was intending to be. Less critically, it is a homage to classic teenage horror that mixes a myriad of genres and then takes you through to a frantic, brilliant and literal ‘house of horrors’ finale that dazzles and disturbs equally.
You don’t have to be genius to see from the outset what ‘The Cabin in the Woods’ is all about and it doesn’t insult anyone’s intelligence by trying to be anything other than what it is. It executes superbly in both its respectful nod to influential teen slasher classics and brings enough of its own horror, comedy and intrigue that it will surely demand repeat viewing. I want to see it again, surely that means something.
The Cabin in the Woods is pure horror fantasy and is quite unique in how it takes notes from everything that has come before, grinds it all up and still entertains chillingly, hilariously and ingeniously. I loved it.
‘Claratsi Rating’ – 8.5/10 Highly Recommended
‘The Cabin in the Woods’ is in cinemas now.
Watched at Cineworld, 15/04/12