April 16, 2012

Review: Genre Bending Horror – 'The Cabin in the Woods'

The less said about The Cabin in the Woods, the better, and I mean that in the best way possible. The long-delayed genre-bending horror, slasher flick comes from the minds of producer Joss Whedon (The Avengers) and director Drew Goddard (Cloverfield) in his directorial debut.

Goddard and Whedon expertly deconstruct the genre conventions of horror, monster, and torture films without being too referential (down to the film's title). Characters are vaguely aware of the genre troupes they adhere to with an element of a knowing audience watching. This isn't Scream. It's more like Friday the 13th on steroids. Ridiculous behaviour is casually explained into a larger horror cult mythology.

I enjoyed most of the explanations for clichés of teen sex, character stereotypes, and all-out references to horror conventionsCabin embraces the casual nudity, cheap thrills, and excessive bloodletting violence we've come to know.

Five archetypes (the jock, the scholar, the virgin, the whore, and the fool) embark on a weekend of debauchery. Instead, they are stalked and preyed upon one by one by larger, unknown forces with mysterious motivations. Nothing is as it seems as it were. Cabin plays as an intelligent, entertaining commentary on voyeurism and exploitation.

The Cabin in the Woods proves to be a slick, clever horror classic in the making with sharp writing, direction, and inventive kills wrapped in a mysterious, sexy story. Go in fresh. The less you know, the better. It takes the horror genre to new heights, raising the stakes, and making for a smartly executed all-out fright-fest full of surprises.

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