As a critic I generally believe you should avoid being too entrenched in your opinions about a specific film.  I think you should be as analytical as possible and attempt to approach your critique from all angles.  However with The Cabin in the Woods (2011) I will make an exception as I positively and unreservedly loved it.  Who cares that it doesn’t rate high in the originality stakes, being a take-off of every horror movie you have ever seen.  It approaches it all with such gusto and verve that only a totally jaded horror hack would fail to get caught up in its deliciously over-the-top ghoulishness.

Five sex mad, doped up campus kids (Chris Hemsworth, Jesse Williams, Fran Kranz, Kristen Connolly and Anna Hutchison) head to a deserted woodland cabin for a typically debauched party weekend.  However what starts as some harmless fun for a group of friends turns into hell-on-earth (quite literally) after they find an old diary in the basement of the cabin, with some archaic writing which turns out to be Latin.  Of course one of the group starts to read it out loud (big no no) and in so doing wakes up some very nasty things from the surrounding woodland – and we’re not talking Bambi and Thumper!

Dismissing The Cabin in the Woods as a lacklustre homage to the teenage slasher scenario, means you miss the point of what is in fact a clever takeoff of virtually every horror movie sub-genre you’ve ever seen.  Everything from the said sex starved, pothead students, via zombies, reality television and the lament configuration box (complete with an extremely sexy Cenobite), which have over the years become horror movie staples, are here.  And this is where The Cabin in the Woods succeeds by making no pretence that it is anything other than a complete and blatant rip-off of everything from The Evil Dead (1981) complete with a wooden hut and demon invoking ancient language, to Hellraiser (1987) with its said its said take on its Cenobites and puzzle box this time in the shape of a sphere.

It’s difficult to reveal too much about the film without spoiling the plot around which it revolves, but suffice to say that the unfortunate kids predicament is not purely accidental.  The film climaxes in a gore soaked frenzy of Armageddon-like proportions which brings to an end a non-stop ride of comic violence that leaves you gasping for breath.  The film also ends with the surprise appearance of a genre icon, who is mentioned no-where in the publicity or cast-lists, but whose cameo alone is worth the admission.

That the ending is not what you expect only adds to the film, making The Cabin in the Woods though perhaps not groundbreaking, at least ‘bloody’ good fun!

Reviewer: Cleaver Patterson
Release Date: 13th 2012 (UK &Ireland)
Director: Drew Goddard
Cast:Richard Jenkins, Bradley Whitford,Chris HemsworthRichard Jenkins 

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