When Wes Craven made Scream, it was a gently nod towards the Slasher genre, taking all of the elements and splicing them together into a clever witty film. Cabin in the woods, is less a parody, more of a message, that the horror genre has just become a repetitive and unoriginal mess. Cabin takes these elements and throws them together like some crazy film cocktail and then shakes it up and pours out something that is very interesting indeed. (Travelling beyond this point, there will be major spoilers Horror Fans!)
Things are going to get a little messy!
On the surface, Cabin is a classic slasher. Throw a group of teens into a spooky building, and then have them slowly killed off by some nasty creature. But there is hidden depth to this film which is clear from the very begging. This is not your everyday horror film, as there is something going on underneath., litrealy right underneath our doomed “Teens” feet. We get glimpses of a group of scientist , who are monitoring the teens every move, manipulating their environment and also providing most of the comedy relief. As it turns out, this is some sort of ritual, or to be more blunt, some form of entertainment for the “ancient ones”. In order to keep peace with these beings, sacrifices have to be made, and it has to be done to the letter. And these is where Cabin really starts to to send up the horror genre and has a lot of fun doing it. At it’s heart Cabin in the Woods asks us why horror is still so popular? What terrible human desire is being fed by seeing these innocent young people , brutally murdered and mutilated right in front of our very eyes? The film plays on the voyeuristic nature of these films in more than one way, with not only the scientist watching and enjoying the brutality , but also these mysterious “ancient ones”, who are the real monsters at play here.
When you break the films elements down, it’s actually very clever film. As i said early, it’s not a parody, it’s actually an explanation. It takes all of the classic horror tropes and puts them into context. Why are horror film forest always drenched in fog? Well, it’s actually pheromones, to make the Teens do things that they normally wouldn’t, like exploring a strange noise they heard. Why does the heroine always drop the knife? Because the scientist give her a little electric jolt once she used it.
Apart from the classic movie tropes, it also looks at the creatures used in horror. Cabin often homages them, but also out right twisting them into something new and interesting. Lets take a look at the the main antagonist in the film , the Buckner Family. They are a family of redneck murderers who worship pain, clearly a homage to The Texas Chainsaw massacre’s Sawyer (Hewiit) family and the cenobites from Hellraiser. I actually felt that it was a shame that they had to make them zombies, as these character alone would have been much more interesting. Zombies have been done to death.
Micheal Myers is looking a little…grubby!
The crazy underground labs, that we see in the second half of the film, have all these cubes that contain a variety of creatures. We only see a handful of these onscreen, and some at a great distance, but a good pause will help you spot all sorts of treats, such as the twins from the shining and several characters from the video game left for dead. As a send-up of the genre, Cabin gives the fans a lot of rewards for paying attention to the little details. The creature designs are all top notch, with lost of prosthetic and CGI blended to represent a whole host of nasty creatures and characters. It’s really fun to see so many family favorites brought together in one place. Cabin really does deliver when it comes to monsters!
Eye Spy with my little eye…
The Cast is pretty solid, and they manage to do a great job of getting a bunch of 30 somethings playing young teens, but also do it in a convincing, if not satirical way. This was Kristen Connolly’s first big leading roll, and she does a grand job too. Even if most of it is just screaming and running. She does it like a pro, a new age scream queen with a little fight in her too. Chris Hemsworth addition to the cats, just goes to show how strong a script this film has. Chris was big property at this time, which meant he could pretty much pick and choose and script he wanted, and he had never acted in a horror before. Even though his character does not last long, it was great to see a big name in here. Whilst the rest of the cast are good too, I have to highlight Richard Jenkins and Bradley Whitford. Their tag team duo are just fantastic. The banter between these two scientist is just golden, and also helps to paint a picture of what is actually going on. And lest not forget our surprise cameo right at the end. God bless Weaver!
You were really good, I’m just sorry I have to “wolf ” you down!
Originality is rare thing these days, and film makers are using the same tired old story lines, creatures and actions over and over again. Cabin in the woods is a fresh celebration of horror. It’s dark, gory and violent, but also immensely funny. It’s clever satire of the genre is only matched by it’s witty script and fantastic effects. When there is blood and limbs being sprayed, left, right and center , you know you have something special on your hands! Cabin delivers all the goods all tied up in one big package!
So who are the ancients ones? We see a giant creature appear at the end of the film, but that’s not really who the ancients ones are. We, as the audience, are the ancient ones. You see, it us that are angered or pleased by the actions of the film. We are the voyeuristic creatures who are pleased or displeased by the actions played out. We want the gore and horror, because we are twisted inside! Yes, all along they were trying to please you!
Cabin in the WoodsSCORE
- Overall Score 61% 61%