Cabin in the Woods
Genre: Horror, Comedy
Starring: Chris Hemsworth, Kristen Connolly, Fran Kranz
Director: Drew Goddard
With Joss Whedon assisting in the writing of this piece, and fans raving about how original it was, giving new life to the slasher genre and exclaiming how good it is but filled with twists, so they won't go on into any more depth for 'ruining it,' it's another that had a well deserved place on my list. I have a question for all you people worried about spoiling it though: were we watching the same god-damn film? The “big twist” emerges in the opening moments, leaving only one last tiny piece of the puzzle left to figure out, and lets be honest, that doesn't exactly take more than the first half hour. Don't let this detract from the film as a whole though; it is genuinely well done and quite original, but that's all because we know the twist from the get go, because the cliché is mixed in with the unconventional and jumbled up with amusing results. Let me elaborate (and I promise to spoil nothing not already in the trailer).
Yes, it all starts out with the most cliché of set-ups; you have your five standard slasher victims, the virgin, the nerd, the stoner, the slut and the jock. All five decide that it'd be swell if they took a trip to the middle of nowhere to stay at a wooden cabin, obviously commenting on such things as 'we can't even get phone signal here' and 'well didn't that cellar door open violently for no apparent reason, lets investigate!' Not to mention the required creepy Southern American hillbilly chewing tobacco; yes they're all here, and it's not long before their investigation of the cellar yields plenty of weird shit, amongst which lies an old diary speaking of untold evils and a short Latin text. Which of course they read, bringing to life the monstrous entities known as the Bruckner family, redneck zombies that want nothing more than to kill them off one by one.
A decision that one Bradley Whitford was in complete dismay about, one of two 'puppeteers' watching in their hi-tech facility with his work colleagues whilst exclaiming “they never choose the Merman;” and herein lies the twist. From the opening moments we watch from two separate perspectives; the cliché victims and the men in suits orchestrating their demise, controlling their environment with pheromones and drugs, acting as the puppeteers in their demise, jovially mocking them in the process. “I guess we'll just have to take that top off” the jock says to the slut. “YES! Take it off!” cry the crowd gathered around the viewing area; it's constantly poking fun at their plight as it unfolds in a manner that make slashers so frequently boring and predictable to watch these days, lending itself to far more of a comedy situation than anything that'll genuinely scare you.
Short of that final piece of the puzzle; the question of why they're carrying out such actions – this is hardly a 'Hostel' type facility we're talking about here – the only thing I can really think people thought were “twists” was the ridiculous ability for cast members to turn out not to be dead, only to have something fly from nowhere to finish the job, or have them die in the most amusing of ways. This was, admittedly, frustrating more than anything, particularly considering the second time it happened you knew what was coming, but nonetheless despite the plot holes and minor annoying bits, the joy of this film is all in the comedy, explaining the 'coincidences' that always seem to happen within the genre. Both men behind the script came to prominence in the TV show “Angel” and that influence can be clearly felt in every line, quip, pun and action sequence. Those wanting a horror with a difference should check this out; Whedon fans should already have done so.