By Joe Strange
Halloween is getting closer, and I know that there are a fair few out there who love nothing more than chilling with a good horror film on such a spooky scary night, and to that end I’d like to recommend my personal favourite horror movie; Cabin in the Woods.
Cabin in the Woods, however, is a film best entered into with a fresh mind, so I won’t be going into a lot of slimy plot details and narrative arcs here, no siree, the less you know about the film the better.
That being said, the general set up is pretty regular; 5 teens (played by people who are much older than teens) get together and disappear off the radar, into the woods, for a night of sex, drugs and drink, but, this being a horror flick, the debauchery turns into butchery once they start to uncover the dark history behind that Cabin in the Woods. (roll credits)
The thing that the film really has going for it is how very aware that it’s of the horror genre; the blatant archetypes of the Jock, the Nerd, the Virgin, the Slut and the Stoner are all addressed and turned on their head. Even the setting, a Cabin in the Woods, is cliché, and the characters know it. This leads to one of my favourite lines in the film about the petrol station out in the sticks; ‘I don’t think this place knows about money, I think it’s barter gas…’ mutters Marty (Franz Kranz) our stoner.
Cabin in the Woods was co-written by Joss Whedon, the guy behind Buffy, Firefly, Dollhouse and the Avengers, and the witty, natural dialogue, the fun characters and verbal sparring all show that this is very much a Whedon project, and fans of any of the above know that this is a very good thing.
It’s not a scare a minute film by any means, and the tension is often broken up with humour, usually by way of the surveillance sub plot, which is the overt draw for the film. But what Cabin in the Woods really is is a horror film about horror films. It’s a deconstruction of the genre, a commentary on horror and our society’s fascination with it. It’s also very hard to avoid the free will/determinism debate all the way through.
But while it can be read as that, it’s also a good horror film regardless of the high brow message; there’s gore, violence and scares. It avoids the ‘humans are the real monster’ message to some degree and goes full on with the ‘monsters are the real monsters’, which is quite refreshing.
Some people I know who didn’t enjoy it as much said that the film fell flat, and that they weren’t happy with the resolution, and while I can understand that, I implore that you see it through to the finish, because, if you’re anything like us at Axby, it’s a film you’ll be talking about long after you’ve seen it the first time, and like any film with interwoven and twisted narratives, it’s definitely worth a second viewing.
So if you’re looking for a good hearty horror movie to sink your fake vampire teeth into this Halloween I suggest Cabin in the Woods. It’s got all the intellect of a satire and all the fun and fright of a good old fashioned horror.