Friday, 6 May 2016

Cinema Review - The Cabin In The Woods

Previously Published on Front Room Cinema in 2012

With The buzz surrounding The Cabin in the Woods increasing day by day, Tom headed to a preview screening to find out exactly what was lurking deep in the heart of the forest...

From the writer of Cloverfield, Drew Goddard, comes this latest horror that on first glance may appear to be a run of the mill treatment of a tired genre but delve under the surface and you will find that there is a lot more to this film than anyone could be able to predict. Every so often a horror film comes along that completely turns the genre on its head, and it would be high praise to say that the Cabin in the Woods does just that, but there is no denying that it comes pretty damn close.

I went in to the film having not seen a trailer or read anything about it and I can highly advise that you do the same. For this reason, I want you to know that I have purposely avoided including any spoilers in my review and will not give away anything that would detract from your enjoyment of what was one hell of an experience. Not since Kick-Ass have I left the cinema feeling so pumped and overwhelmed by what I had witnessed on screen and although it isn't quite a horror classic, fans of the genre are sure to appreciate what is a devilishly fun ride from start to finish.

Beginning with one of the most overused cliches in horror today, the film starts when five friends venture out to a cabin deep in the heart of the woods with plenty of booze and drugs to kick back and make the most of their weekend. As their story unfolds we are also introduced to another set of characters, and it is not until later on in the film that we realise how the two are connected but it is a great piece of writing and the demented geniuses behind this screenplay, Joss Whedon and director Drew Goddard, who have been involved with Buffy, Serenity, Cloverfield and the forthcoming Avengers film, have invented one hell of a twisted creation.

The Cabin in the Woods is full of nasty shocks and surprises that are guaranteed to delight horror fans, and it is impressive that the countless nods to classic films of the genre never feel tired or outstay their welcome. Full of clich├ęs but self-aware, the film shifts in tone from full on horror to the black humour of the recent comedy horror outing Tucker and Dale vs Evil without losing any of its impact. There have been a number of comparisons to early Raimi which are well deserved although I would argue that the style has far more in common with the full on depraved insanity of his recent outing Drag me to Hell, as for the majority of the screening I was sat there with a big goofy grin on my face that refused to subside.

I couldn't help but notice that the score sounded remarkably similar to that of the Descent in some of
the more serious scenes, where the focus was on scares rather than laughter, and wasn't surprised to find out that it was actually composed by the same artist, David Julyan. It really aided the transition from the more humorous elements to the bleakness of our protagonists' struggle to survive and the constant shift between the two extremes of the horror genre rarely feels so natural.

There was a certain moment in the film when I anticipated what was going to happen shortly before the events unfolded on screen and it completely surpassed my expectation of how it would pan out. As a huge horror fan it felt like all of my nightmares had come true but I was very glad that they did. Although there are a few scares in the film they are unlikely to leave a lasting impression on the audience as it is the story that really leaves an indelible footprint on the mind. I still can't get over how the film-makers managed to convert what may have sounded like a massive gamble on paper into what could possibly be a contender for one of the best horrors of 2012.

I could probably go on all day about how impressed I was with The Cabin in the Woods although people unfamiliar with the horror genre probably won't take as much from the film as those who love nothing more than to be scared. It does borrow heavily from those that have come before but also adds so much more that The Cabin in the Wood even manages to transcend the majority of its influences which is very impressive considering a large portion of the film revolves around mocking the cliches of the genre.

I am unsure whether the film will hold up as well on a second viewing with prior knowledge of the eventual outcome but there are still numerous sequences that I cannot wait to view again. An essential film for horror fans and a recommended viewing for everyone else, make sure you take a trip to the cabin when it hits cinemas, I guarantee that you will have no idea of the horrors that are waiting in store for you.

4/5