Saturday, 7 April 2012

The Cabin In The Woods

Let’s get one thing straight: telling you the basic premise of The Cabin In The Woods cannot be considered a ‘spoiler’. The ‘twist’ is revealed approximately eleven seconds into the film and heavily hinted at in the trailer. Regardless, this review will steer clear of blatant signposting in favour of ham-fisted hinting.

As the title suggests, The Cabin In The Woods is at least, in part, a generic teen slasher flick. Utterly shamelessly, director Drew Goddard throws every cliché in the book at the first ten minutes. You could tick them off on a list: road trip to a relatives’ cabin; slack-jawed yokel issuing ominous warnings; creepy old toys; virginal girl in her underwear; pot-smoking stoner; nerdy bookworm; sporty jock and a girl with extremely loose morals and extremely small shorts.

Where the movie departs from now familiar tropes of the genre is in its knowing deconstruction of the conventions of such slasher films. Winking lustily at the audience, Goddard uses very deliberate distancing devices to place them outside of the action looking in – and gives the viewers far more information than the characters themselves are privy to.

It’s an extremely pacy, gory romp with plenty of laughs and some jumpy moments. At times it’s silly, predictable and a little immature – but that’s all part of the satirical fun. And at one point it looks as if something really clever is about to happen. Sadly it all starts to fall apart at that point as the premise loses its momentum and the production crew start splurging the budget on dodgy cameos and ropy CGI. It’s a shame it runs out of steam so quickly – it’s a film with enormous potential and hints at good things to come from its first time director.

If you’re a fan of gratuitous blood, nudity and zombies, you could do a lot worse than avoiding any more of the publicity for The Cabin In The Woods, leaving your brain at the door and enjoying it for the fun experience that it is. But don’t expect a satisfactory conclusion.

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