Saturday, 21 April 2012
Movie #28 The Cabin in the Woods
So, my first flick after a good month away from the cinema (seriously, don't ask) and I can't even really discuss it without giving anything away! To be honest, even the fact that you know you shouldn't hear about it before hand is a kind of spoiler.
So what to say about The Cabin in the Woods, then? Directed by Drew Goddard, produced by Joss Whedon and written by both, there is a great deal of both Buffy and Lost in what must inevitably be described as 'a deconstruction of the horror genre'. Ostensibly a slasher, much play is had with the tropes of the genre - and Lord knows horror has its tropes - but the central thesis (which I obviously can't reveal) is somewhat half-baked; essentially a Lovecraftian X-Files-meets-Evil Dead back-of-a-beermat notion that is cute but cannot bear the weight of a feature film.
More positively: there are some great performances to enjoy (most especially Richard Jenkins and Bradley Whitford); the direction is consistently suspenseful and, at times, genuinely brilliant; the third act is insanely good fun; there a lot of laughs (though they do make the overall tone of the film uneven); and the screenplay is commendably concise, with the movie clocking in at a highly Slut-approved 95 minutes.
Ultimately, while it's an 'A' for effort and good intentions, the execution is merely 'C+'. A bag of ideas that doesn't quite hang together, with a Destroy All Monsters climax that turns out to be very difficult to end satisfactorily (despite being great fun while it lasts). And despite the claims of originality, this kind of deconstruction has been seen before in such movies as Scream, Funny Games and (more obliquely) Adaptation; plot-wise there are many debts (beyond the multifarious horror tributes): The Matrix, The Truman Show, My Little Eye, Odishon, even The Ghostbusters. So, not the great cinematic statement that some would have you believe it is - but entertaining despite all that.