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Gleeful Gore to Revel In
THE CABIN IN THE WOODS (15) Horror/Thriller/Comedy. Richard Jenkins, Bradley Whitford, Kristen Connolly, Chris Hemsworth, Anna Hutchison, Fran Kranz, Jesse Williams, Brian White. Director: Drew Goddard You have to give writer-director Drew Goddard full marks for effort.
With tongue wedged firmly in cheek, he lampoons hoary cliches and attempts to reinvigorate the horror genre with this slick tale of college kids in peril that is three parts bonkers to one part twisted genius.
Not since poor Drew Barrymore answered a crank call in Scream has a film exploited stereotypes with such lip-smacking glee, and subverted our expectations at every blood-spattered turn.
Joss Whedon, creator of Buffy The Vampire Slayer, co-wrote the script and his droll humour percolates throughout, inviting us to become cheering voyeurs as characters meet a grisly demise.
For the opening five minutes, making sense of the madness in Goddard and Whedon’s hare-brained method takes up most of our attention, which is no bad thing given how thinly characters are sketched.
Plot twists are the key selling point of The Cabin In The Woods and the big reveal in the closing minutes is a humdinger, including a cameo from a big-name Hollywood star, who clearly relishes their five minutes in the spotlight.
Yet for all of its audacity and deliciously off-kilter humour, the various elements don’t gel seamlessly and once the writers’ grand plan is laid out before us, we feel slightly underwhelmed.
The Cabin In The Woods has some big laughs and lashings of gore, including a possessed zombie appendage that lends a hand at a crucial juncture.
The young cast embrace their genre archetypes, screaming or disrobing on cue, while Kranz plays his stoner with aplomb.
At certain points, Goddard probably gives us too much information but the crescendo certainly doesn’t skimp on the digital effects or blood letting.
Goddard knows how to end with an almighty bang.