Five All-American stereotypes head off to a backwoods cabin for a weekend away. Cue ominous etchings, a hidden diary and mysterious rednecks. So far, so generic horror. But according to critics, The Cabin in the Woods is no ordinary scare-fest, with some suggesting writer Joss Buffy the Vampire Slayer Whedon has managed to reinvent the horror film genre.
However, most reviewers have had to proceed with caution to avoid spoiling the surprise: “I’m not sure there’s ever been a more spoilerable movie than Cabin in the Woods,” wrote MaryAnn Johanson at blog Flick Filosopher. So what do we know so far?
Watch the trailer for The Cabin in the Woods below.
Ambitious. “There’s no question this is one of the most exciting feature debuts of the last few years,” wrote Peter Debruge at Variety, describing the idea behind the film as “ambitious and fresh”. According to Debruge, one of the most exciting elements of The Cabin in the Woods is the sheer inventiveness of the plot: “The petrifyingly unpredictable script flips the rules. Since anything can happen, witnessing it becomes an act of bravery, like feeling your way down a pitch-black alley; there’s no telling what might be lurking in the dark.”
Difficult to review. “The Cabin In The Woods is, without doubt, a dish best served raw,” wrote Dan Jolin at Empire, keen to avoid spoiling the film’s central “slow-reveal OMG mystery”. Jolin argued that The Cabin in the Woods certainly takes a fresh approach to horror, but that the movie isn’t quite as genre-bending as hoped: “The ultimate reveal isn’t as smart as it could have been, dragging the concept back into convention rather than boosting it up onto an entirely new level.” Nevertheless, said Jolin, the film is great fun, “delivering an astonishingly nutso, gore-slappy final-act crescendo which barely leaves any staple of the supernatural horror flick unpoked”.
A mash-up. “If Scream was a meta-hack-’em-up, Cabin takes five giant steps back to reveal a wider canvas, gleefully jumbling together every kind of modern horror picture, paranoid-conspiracy thrillers, Matrix-style sci-fi, and a dollop of H. P. Lovecraft,” wrote David Edelstein in New York Magazine. Edelstein didn’t find the film particularly scary but noted that there are enough “gory surprises” to keep the audience glued to the screen.
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