It's was a packed weekend for movie watching for me. I got to see three films, two of which were festival standouts of which this is one of them. I should also note that there is three films I'm staying away from all spoilers from that are coming out this year with this being one of them. The only thing I've heard or read about this film ranges from it's a genre changer to don't let anyone spoil it for you. So I'm going to try to keep all the real surprises out of this review as much as possible while not making what you're reading completely boring. So if I have to say something I'll put a spoiler warning before said line or sentences when ever possible.
Well how am I going to really review a film where I don't want to spoil anything on. I could just review the first two thirds of it as what we seen in the trailer all happens in that amount of time. Actually that sounds just the thing to do, as to go to much more past that part is to ruin the real surprise that is in store for those that watch it.
We all know the set up for most horror films, classic creep fests, and torture porn types by now, well at least those that like horror do. You have the jock, the slut, the goody goody girl, the best friend, and usually a book worm type. In this one those types are in a way here as well, kinda in a way. The jock character is played by Chris Hemsworth who in the film is more than what he seems as he knows how to think and actually isn't dumb. The goody goody girl, played by Kristen Connolly, is really the good girl even though she says differently toward the end of the film. We also know this as when the movie starts she mentions that she knew sleeping with her college professor would end up like it did. Yet the one character that stuck out the most was the best friend character Marty, played by Fran Kranz. His character was also the most interesting of all due to even though he was stoned through most of the first half of the movie, his insight was spot on about almost everything that happened as well as trying to make his friends see reason in what they were doing. Kranz also adds a lot of perfectly timed humor to his role that adds a lot to it as well as lightens the tension as there are plenty of times that this comes in handy.
I said that I wasn't going to try and spoil anything in the film, yet I should have probably put it that I wasn't going to spoil the last third of it. The film starts just like any other usual friends go to alone cabin or get away in the woods. The characters are all introduced one by one and the stereotypes are seen right from the start which we find out are somewhat skewed as each one has an extra something that makes them more than the stereotype. Along with that we are introduced to three workers that are commenting on not screwing things up this weekend in a bunker complex played by Amy Acker, Richard Jenkins, and the ever very watchable Bradley Whitford. It's not long before the friends run into the the usual creepy redneck slash doom sayer that freak half of them out and piss off the other half. And as usual before the doomed ones leave the doomer warns them of what is to come. Now if all this sounds somewhat familiar, that's because it is. Most horror films start out this same way. And yes, the friends start dieing one by one. Yet it's what's happening behind everything that makes this so interesting and different from the rest of what is out there that makes this completely different. It also makes complete sense as well once everything is said and done.
While all this might sound awfully run of the mill, it is. In a way. What Joss Whedon and Drew Goddard has managed to do is take the basic plot and add on something to it that is so simple yet at the same time so smart that it makes complete sense. I will say that this next sentence will give a hint to what is going on so those that don't want to know what happens skip ahead a little bit. The film, story wise, gives us as viewers a look at why what happens in the movies we love happens in a very intelligent way. While the film is a horror film, those that are used to these movies won't really be scared, but I was thrilled by what was going on on the screen in front of me. What these two filmmakers have done is create a love letter to the genre while at the same time making a complaint of the state of the genre and what is wrong with it. This sound confusing now but once you have seen the film you will completely understand why I put it this way. We as viewers are so used to seeing the kill and wanting to see the kill that we forgot that story does matter in our favorite genre, and more and more that is being forgotten. Whendon and Goddard didn't forget this and makes sure we remember that. There's going to be reviews lambasting the film for not having this or that, for not being bloody enough (if you see a review that says that, stop reading it cause they haven't seen the film), or it's just a rip of every other horror film. This happens when a film comes along that has brains and is a commentary on the genre while trying to be entertaining. I'm going to end there as I really want to talk more about it but to do so would have me going into the stuff I shouldn't talk about as half the fun is the surprise in this one. Just know that this film is worth seeing and is a complete joy ride.
Kristen Connolly - Dana
Chris Hemsworth - Curt
Anna Hutchison - Jules
Five friends go for a break at a remote cabin in the woods, where they get more than they bargained for. Together, they must discover the truth behind the cabin in the woods.
Sorry, I'm not going to put anything down for this (though I really, REALLY want to, but I'm not as it will spoil the film.
On the white board in the control room when the staff are taking bets on the victims potential killers, "Deadites" are listed which is a direct reference to the Evil Dead films.
The film was shot in 2009 yet was shelved for over two years due to the financial trouble at MGM. It wasn't until Lionsgate bought the film that it saw the light of day.
The film's release date was postponed because the studio wanted to convert it to 3D, despite objections from Producer Joss Whedon and director Drew Goddard.
Whedon while giving a interview with Total Film magazine has said of the movie:
"On another level it's a serious critique of what we love and what we don't about horror movies. I love being scared. I love that mixture of thrill, of horror, that objectification/identification thing of wanting definitely for the people to be alright but at the same time hoping they’ll go somewhere dark and face something awful. The things that I don't like are kids acting like idiots, the devolution of the horror movie into torture porn and into a long series of sadistic comeuppances. Drew and I both felt that the pendulum had swung a little too far in that direction."