• Review: The Cabin in the Woods

    From Roger Bell_West's autoposter@21:1/5 to All on Sun Apr 24 10:20:27 2016
    2012 horror, dir. Drew Goddard, Kristen Connolly, Chris Hemsworth: [IMDb](http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1259521/) / [allmovie](http://www.allmovie.com/movie/the-cabin-in-the-woods-v463538)

    Five teenagers go for a weekend trip to a remote cabin. It doesn't end

    I generally despise Joss Whedon's writing and plotting. I didn't
    get on with _Buffy_, and I'm one of the few people who liked _Firefly_
    but was glad it ended before it got too self-indulgent. Drew Goddard,
    co-writer as well as director here, wrote the tedious _Cloverfield_
    before this and the more tedious _World War Z_ afterwards. And yet,
    this is one of the best horror films I have ever seen, to the point
    that I think there is now basically no justification for anyone making
    another generic "expendable meat" horror film. (This didn't stop them,
    of course.) The tropes have been skewered so effectively that there's
    no need ever to use them again.

    Also unusually for me, I'd say it's worth not knowing what's going on
    until you watch it. I normally don't care about "spoilers", and this
    is worth re-watching too, but in this case I think my experience was
    enhanced by picking up the clues spread out through the narrative
    rather than knowing in advance what would happen.

    The film has more or less the resolution I'd expected from the
    beginning, but it is well-implemented; Whedon and his team had the
    sense to set up a situation where their usual writing style was a plus
    point (one set of people can be snarky because they're filling the
    roles of expendable fodder; the other set, well, once you find out why
    they're doing what they're doing their snark makes a certain amount of
    sense too).

    Most of the actors were relative unknowns in film at the time, with
    previous role credits like "Makeout Girl" and "The Kid"; by the time
    this was released, Chris Hemsworth was known for _Thor_, but this had
    been made a year before that, then delayed because of financial
    problems at MGM. It was one of the last pair of films made by the old management, the other being the dire _Red Dawn_ remake, and was sold
    off to Lionsgate (given how many dreary expendable-meat films they've
    released it seems only fair). I favour cheap new actors, in general:
    some of them will turn out to be really good, and _all_ of them will
    be giving it their best because it's their one chance at the big time.

    I particularly liked the way many film cliches were inverted - to pick
    just one example, the desperate effort to join two wires together in
    the nick of time. And even the overall plot made quite a bit of sense.
    Like the first _Pirates of the Caribbean_, the film hits dead-on that
    difficult point between under-parodying, and becoming disrespectful
    to, the source material.

    If you're fed up with the same old reliable "scare" moments and want
    something with a bit more cleverness, or if you've met the Expendable
    Meat mostly through its influence on popular culture and don't find
    the basic story terribly interesting, this is a film I can recommend


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