The Cabin In The Woods Review

Before his eagerly anticipated action packed superhero fest of Avengers Assemble is released at the end of April, Joss Whedon has produced and co-written the postmodern slasher flick The Cabin In The Woods.

It’s Whedon’s appetiser before his main course of the Avengers’ and, having been left to gather dust since being shot back in 2009, has a slightly peculiar after taste.

Kicking off in stereotypical teen-horror fashion, we witness a bimbo, a jock, a stoner, a bookworm and a little miss goodie-two-shoes set off on a weekend getaway to a remote cabin.

So far, so predictable.

However, once the lambs to the slaughter arrive, they discover this particular get away has a violent past and set out to uncover the truth behind the secluded cabin’s mystery before it’s too late.

I won’t say any more than this as The Cabin In The Woods is best enjoyed without knowing too much about it; even the trailer gives away too many of its secrets.

Whedon has created one of those rare films that only start to impress you a day or so after seeing it. One of its most impressive features is the multiple references to horror films of yore; from the Evil Dead franchise to Cabin Fever, to The Texas Chainsaw Massacre before tipping its hat to Scooby Doo.

The Cabin In The Woods is clearly made by people who know and love horror movies but, with its typically Whedon-esque self reflexive script and nudge-wink quips, have grown tired of the slasher schlock and horror remakes that just won’t go away.

Much like Michael Myers and Freddy Krueger.

There’s also an able cast largely consisting of supporting players from Whedon’s TV projects. Fran Kranz of Dollhouse fame gets the best lines as stoner conspiracy theorist Marty, who’s the first to realise something’s amiss. Marty’s run-in with a hillbilly gas attendant, ticking another of those slasher convention boxes, is both hilarious and extremely unnerving.

Richard Jenkins and Bradley Whitford have a ball in their roles with links to the cabin’s at times literal cloak-and-dagger shenanigans and Kristen Connolly impresses as virtuous lead lamb, Dana. Chris Hemsworth should also secure the film wider promotion after appearing as Thor last year, ably taking up the mantle of jock Curt here.

Whedon and first-time director Drew Goddard deftly deliver some genre subversion with a dollop of dry humour, whilst refusing to shirk away from more brutal offings. As the implications of the cabin’s past are revealed however, it does become increasingly bonkers.

But Whedon has always been one to stretch genre boundaries and The Cabin In The Woods is a fresh, imaginative take on the slasher flick that is daft yet enjoyable.

Adam Vaughan

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Dates ‘n stuff

April 2012