Holy mother of Beelzebub, someone has actually delivered a swift kick to the horror genre’s weighty posterior. If you didn’t take my advice or “accidentally” saw the latest high profile American horror film the Devil Inside, firstly get your fingers out your throat and then quickly get to a cinema and watch The Cabin in the Woods. Not only is it one of the most memorable horror films of the past decade, it is the most fun that I’ve had in a packed out cinema for a troubling amount of time.
At the outset, The Cabin in the Woods seems to adhere to every ‘slasher’ film convention that has ever existed. A group of teenagers on the cusp of hormonal overload flee to a country house in the middle of nowhere and start to pointlessly enjoy themselves before they meet their grizzly fate. However, it is as they arrive at the cabin in the woods that all these conventions are contorted, twisted and completely blown apart. To mention any other plot details would ruin the experience but simply put, if your expecting a by the numbers horror film, prepare to be pleasantly or horrendously surprised.
I say horrendously surprised, as it became apparent upon leaving the cinema that the sheer insanity of it all wasn’t to everybody’s tastes. The film mostly awards those who are massive horror film dweebs, with constant references to classics of the genre and characters that are playfully aware of their stereotypes, if you aren’t up to scratch on your horror then a lot of the jokes and little winks to the audience may completely fly over your head. Even the settings appear to be small nods to classic horror films, like the Evil Dead inspired cabin and the lake which looks directly replicated from the Friday the 13th series. If you are a horror enthusiast however like myself, this film was practically constructed for your blood-thirsty goggles.
Some of you may be thinking that this isn’t sounding like a horror film at all, where’s the gut-wrenching terror and blind nuns? Well rest assured whilst the film does play around with the tried and true formula to some hysterical effects and doesn‘t involve the talents of Beatrice the nun, this is still a relatively scary film. Unlike many horror films from the past decade the death’s are actually surprising and sometimes completely unexpected. With the added insanity and oddness of the whole concept, the entire film becomes so unpredictable and genuinely exciting that it is almost impossible to not enjoy the film on some level. Just to remind you as well, this is an American horror film and yes I did just use the word unpredictable.
The Cabin in the Woods is essentially an awesome rollercoaster ride that is best experienced in a cinema with as many people as possible. It is scary, funny, exciting and completely off its rocker. Whilst it’s not quite a ‘game-changer’ as the advertising would suggest, it shows that there is still someone out there with an imagination working in American horror. A person that needs to be showered with chocolate, puppies and a restraining order.
By Adam Starkey