An original American mainstream horror film? When was the last time we had one of those? Granted there have probably been a few but the overall impression one gets as far as mainstream US horror cinema goes it’s remake/sequel/rip-off etc.
Along comes ‘The Cabin in the Woods’ then, and here’s where it gets tricky. Yes this has been out for a few months now but honestly it’s not just that it’s best seen with as little prior knowledge as possible, it’s that it’s really very difficult to say anything about the film without potentially spoiling it.
Still here? Okay, well right off the bat the film opens with 2 separate storylines going on. One involves the usual troupe you would expect from this (apparent) kind of horror movie. A bunch of youths set off for a weekend away in a remote cabin. We have the ‘virginal’ good girl, her slutty friend, said slut’s jock boyfriend, a hot but sensitive guy and a comic relief stoner. They head to the titular cabin and while approaching it are warned by a rude, creepy, inbred looking redneck type not to go there, whose advice they of course, ignore.
The second strand features a group of technicians in a large facility, where two sarcastic but authoritative workers preside over a mission control-esque room full of monitors. Their dialogue leads us to believe that their work is of high importance.
So that’s about all one can say without becoming spoilerific. These two stands are intrinsically connected to each other, but how and why?
So this is certainly aiming higher than your standard horror fare, but actually this is more if a horror-comedy in the ‘An American Werewolf in London’ vibe. It is pretty scary numerous times and features some nightmarish imagery but also has a killer sense of humour. This extends to not only the banter between the characters but several physical gags too.
Really this is a film made by horror fans for horror fans and such people will have great fun picking up on the many references to other films, as well as its knowing acknowledgement and sometimes twisting of many genre clichés and conventions, and trying to work out where it might be going.
The more it reveals about itself the more barmy it becomes but it’s great fun throughout, and it packs an ending that’s almost like (potential spoiler) a big smarmy grin to all those demanding immediate sequels to all horror movies.