THE CABIN IN THE WOODS (4K REVIEW)
Dir. Drew Goddard
Reviewer. Martyn Wakefield
Every year over hundreds of horror films hit the shelves. Not all of them are brilliant and not all of them seem valid in a genre full of masterpieces and franchises. While often they are cash grabs or retreading of the same formula, once in a while, there is a nugget of gold in that pit of horror, in 2012 the horror genre was gifted with THE CABIN IN THE WOODS and now it gets its glossy 4k restoration with beautiful new artwork and crystal clear imagery to see all the ghosts and ghouls this film has to offer.
Then we have Cabin in the Woods, a complete breakdown on the genre that not only pays homage to most of the greatest stories to grace our screens but also manages to make every flaw in a horror film seem somehow plausible. Joss Whedon (post AVENGERS) and Drew Goddard (pre-DAREDEVIL) show their horror knowledge and dark sense of humour in this mind-bending horror film with zombies, ghosts, creatures and just about every other living (or undead) creature in the last 50 years.
Starting with a brief conversation between two officials Richard and Steve (Richard Jenkins and Bradley Whitford) heading to work on a golf cart and then BANG!
CABIN IN THE WOODS
The title hits the screen starting the first of many homages to the genres greats. And as quickly as the title closes, we’re booted to the cast of youth that are sure to endure some inflicting death. After a short introduction they head towards Curt’s (Chris Hemsworth) cousins cabin with Dana (Kristen Connolly), Jules (Anna Hutchison), Marty (brilliantly played by Fran Kranz) and Holden (Jesse Williams) in tow. Driving to the cabin rule number 1) signal goes and soon they find themselves with the Harbinger. The bad news barer before they enter their impending doom, leading to a hilarious ‘speakerphone’ incident.
Once in the cabin we see the ‘puppeteers’ Richard and Steve not only watching their every move but also pumping hormones and personality changing drugs to make each person fit with a certain personality. Morphing them into every horror cliché ever written. The Jock, the Nerd, the Fool, the Slut and the Virgin.
When the basement door opens the teens head downstairs to find a room full of artefacts to which each person messes with them and ultimately Dana reads out a diary unleashing the horrific Buckner family. At which point, behind the scenes the crew who are making and watching this happen place their bets on who shall appear to place the impending death on the teens. The banter between the puppeteers is never shy of humorous and even though they are watching a real life horror film they stay relaxed and light-hearted throughout the whole film. As several of the group die leaving only two left to survive we exit the clichéd horror film and the whole film, and genre, is ripped apart.
Part two starts with the surviving two entering the behind the scenes warehouse and when they enter an elevator to get transported away from the horrors they have just seen, the real life Monsters Inc cartel of monsters, beasts and undead are stored awaiting their exit. Not deterred by their witness, they manage to turn the body count past Rambo and the scenes of horror that embrace the screen bring sheer delight to any horror fan who will spend the next 10 minutes finding as many horror references as possible.
Climaxing with the unveiling of the director of this particular ‘episode’ we learn that to feed the Gods, sacrifices need to be made and that every horror film ever made (“do you remember when you could just throw someone down a volcano”) has been to satisfy the gods. And if they’re not satisfied, they will destroy the Earth.
Part deadly serious, part WTF silly, this is not a horror film that will scare you shitless, more a perfect film for horror fans who have been scared shitless for the past few decades. (ed - MONSTERS INC. for adults.)
THE CABIN IN THE WOODS is near perfect in making a bloody massacre that will stay as one of the horror classics for time to come. Perfectly balancing the humour, gore, satire and seriousness of the films content and nearly 10 years after it's initial release, THE CABIN IN THE WOODS still feels fresh with a lick of 4K paint, nothing comes close to the storytelling at play here and the film still holds as a God like monolith for the genre.