Film Review: The Cabin in the Woods (2012)

With all the hype surrounding this film, with everyone praising it as the best thing to happen to horror since the ‘Scream’ series of films, that it was a ‘game-changer’, I went into ‘Cabin in the Woods’ with an open mind. It was bad, and very weird. It was an unexpected reaction, as beforehand I’d seen reviews pretty much universally praising the film, for it’s uniqueness and ability to make fun of its self. What I found was a film that didn’t really know where it was going, characters you didn’t care for and no real ‘scary’ moments, just some tense scenes and lots of gore.

Co-written by ‘The Avengers’ director Joss Whedon, it has the same humourous dialogue as the huge blockbuster, and also features  ‘before he was famous’ Chris Hemsworth (the film was shot in 2009 and has suffered from its distributors MGM’s financial troubles). However, these are where comparisons between the two can abruptly end. Cabin’ focuses on a set of generic teens, who’re going off to spend a weekend in Hemsworth’s cousin’s cabin out in the wilderness. It’s deliberately set-up to get you rolling your eyes, and thinking you know where it’s going to go. This is one area where it succeeds. If you’ve not yet seen the trailer and plan on seeing the film, don’t watch it, you’ll be better off for it and even though things may seem strange at first, you may well enjoy it.

It starts off promisingly then, but as the tension ramped up and things started to get bloody and really, really weird, I realised I didn’t care about the characters one bit. Everyone in the two parallel running settings was obnoxious and you genuinely couldn’t care less about the outcome for any of them. The dialogue was funny for only so long, as gruesome acts would occur, and the wisecrack that followed it just wasn’t humourous at all! The pacing of the film left me wanting it to end at certain points, which for a film at only just over 90 minutes long, isn’t good. In comparison, ‘The Avengers’, was 2 and a half hours long, yet I wanted more, perhaps that says more about my taste in film though!

I’m not a huge horror fan, which may be my downfall, but I felt like the cult 80’s horror-comedy ‘The Evil Dead’, with which ‘Cabin’ has been compared to, managed to strike the balance between comedy and horror perfectly. Plus, the special effects in ‘Evil’, were obviously nowhere near the technical masterpiece of ‘Cabin’ which made it funnier and the awful acting much more laughable. ‘Cabin’s violence seemed to defy its aim of ‘reinventing’ the genre, as it just seemed atypical of any other modern day horror film, dousing the characters in blood and dismembering them in everyway imaginable, to the apparent glee of the audience. I didn’t like it.

All this being said, I thought the ending was impressive and just as crazy as the rest of the film! The very ending is a bit dodgy and I didn’t like that, but the climax leading up to it was the most enjoyable part of the film, although again, I didn’t really care of the outcome, due to the characters just annoying me more than anything.

Proper horror fans, who will fully ‘get’ the references it makes and the in-jokes which I’m sure I missed, will most probably love it, but I found it too strange to fully enjoy. Yeah it was funny, but it didn’t make up for the mess of film that surrounded it. Not the worst film you’ll ever see, but certainly not the best.


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