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Movie review: The Cabin in the Woods

Updated on July 6, 2013


Joss Whedon is a cult. And if you haven't heard of him that only reaffirms what a total cult he is. For those not in the know, he created the much-loved TV series Buffy the Vampire Slayer, as well as its subsequent spin-off show Angel. He's also created the short-lived shows Firefly and Dollhouse.

Any one of these shows is enough to have forums overflowing with fanboys and girls, expounding their love for the wonderfully weird worlds of Whedon. But for those who have the good sense to avoid such dark and dank places, the name Whedon will still remain a mystery. This effort, amazing as it is, is unlikely to change anything.

A group of a students want to let loose for a weekend, and Curt (Chris Hemsworth) has just the ticket; his cousin has a cabin in the woods free, meaning that he and the gang can go hang out there. So Curt, his girlfriend Jules (Anna Hutchinson), her friends Dana (Kristen Connolly) and Marty (Fran Kranz) and Curt's friend Holden (Jesse Williams) set off in an RV for some fun in the middle of nowhere.

Despite the cabin looking like something straight out of a horror film, the guys settle in nicely. As night falls however, an evil is unleashed upon them all. The truth is, you'd be stupid not to expect some form of weird evilness to come-a-knockin' on a cabin door, but the real surprise is how it got there in the first place.

It may sound like your run-of-the-mill slasher flick, but that would be doing a huge disservice to this film. What Whedon has created is a film that picks up the post-modern mantle on the horror genre where the Scream series left off.

It de-constructs what has gone before and gives it a gnarly twist. On the surface it's like an adult version of Scooby-Doo meets The Evil Dead. Its characters are forced to reinforce stereotypes of all the hapless teens that have fallen before, but it's done with real ingenuity and creative flair.

They're journey is one of fun predictability, but it's the other half of the story that fuels the originality and humour. This is helped no end by the characters that Richard Jenkins (Six Feet Under) and Bradley Whitford (The West Wing) play. The story arc that their characters appear in serves as an ironic counterbalance to the events happening around the cabin. To say any more than that could possibly spoil the film, and you really wouldn't want that to happen.

Drew Goddard, who wrote Cloverfield and episodes of Lost puts elements of his CV to good use with his directorial debut, as it delivers on almost every front.

Just when you thought that the tired scenario of a group of teens caught in a horrific situation in the woods was tired and well past its sell by date, Whedon and Goddard have created the most perfect re-boot.

It's smart, deliciously bloody and funnier than hell. If you're the type who enjoys teens coming to unfortunate ends – and let's face it, who doesn't? – then a visit to The Cabin in the Woods is a must.

4 booms

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