Faced with a mountain of maths revision and a ticking clock, I really needed something to take my mind off things. When trying to decide what movie to watch, I often consult Rotten Tomatoes as their ratings come from a combination of critics and seeing that The Cabin in the Woods had been giving a significantly high rating of 91%, I decided this was the film for me. I had absolutely no idea what this film was about prior to watching it, though it is pretty obvious from the title and the promotional adverts that it is a horror movie.
Horror movies of the 2010s tend to focus on teenagers and involve a lot of stupid actions leading to a lot of bloodshed. In many ways, The Cabin in the Woods fits this stereotype; however, the difference is that this is a movie of high quality with brilliant acting and a superbly surprising plot twist. After watching the movie I decided to do a bit more research about the film’s background and I discovered that it was co-written and produced by Joss Whedon. Yep, the same guy who wrote the screenplay for Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Alien Resurrection, X-Men, Thor, Captain America (review here) and last, but by no means least, the highly acclaimed and recently released: The Avengers (review here).
There’s little I can say about the plot line without ruining it for future viewers, but here is a very simple précis: five friends head off to a remote cabin in the woods for the weekend. If you’ve seen the trailer for The Cabin in the Woods, then you may have an inkling about what this film entails; however, with absolutely no prior knowledge of this film, I was really quite surprised and pleased by what the plot turned out to be. With someone as talented as Joss Whedon behind the script, I now understand how this slightly unbelievable plot line was taken seriously. There’s actually a mixing of modern and ancient horror (part of the plot twist) in this movie and it was perfectly written to balance the two. Now this is a quote that I’ve stolen from the trailer, but I think it perfectly sums up this film:
Out of the five protagonists of this movie, the only one that I’d heard of before was Chris Hemsworth. I was quite surprised to see someone who was so famous in the film industry co-starring alongside a lot of newbies, but these fairly inexperienced actors certainly surpassed expectations. They are clearly mature actors, not the sort who can only play naive teenagers – though they showed that they can also do this when required – and they made me believe every emotion that they felt, be it happiness or fear. There were actually quite a lot of comic moments in this film, mainly brought by the character Marty Mikalski (Fran Kranz) which worked really well alongside the horror and showed that these actors can apply their skills to a variety of genres. I think I’ll be keeping a watch on these budding young actors, I mean, they’ve already worked with Joss Whedon and Chris Hemsworth, who knows what’s next for them?
I thought for the most part that the visual effects were very good apart from one unfortunate relapse where the special effects just weren’t up to scratch – thankfully this scene only lasts for about 5 seconds. Whilst some elements of this are quite gory, I never once doubted the reality of them as I have in many other horror movies. Surprisingly there is a huge range of monsters and weird creatures in this movie and though they don’t spend a lot of time on screen, they’re still frightening as hell.
All in all, I genuinely found this movie very scary at times. There were lots of moments when I jumped in my seat and I spent quite a lot of the night cowering under the bed sheets, but it was worth it. For anyone who’s not sure about this movie, I highly recommend that you give it a chance. If you, like me, are sick of seeing the standard American horror movie where all the teenagers have sex and then die with fake blood spurting everywhere, then this is the film for you. You may find yourself wondering in the first 5 minutes what exactly is different about this movie, but it quickly becomes apparent as to what to undercutting plot line is, so don’t give up on it.