Science fiction and fantasy
The Cabin In The Woods
directed by Drew Goddard
The young people go in with a carefree attitude, and the film takes on the tone of a comedy, but that soon turns black. About three quarters of the way through it gets more and more absurd. The ending moves quite far into silliness because of the number of rampaging monsters, and because the reason for all of the subterfuge and cruelty turns out to be something that doesn't stand up to close analysis. I felt a little disappointed by this movie because it turns out to be very, very light in terms of the themes it tackles, even though there are hints of something deeper at the start. The stoner, Marty (Fran Kranz), is a conspiracy theorist who worries about puppeteers pulling his strings, and at first I thought that the story was going to go in a more realistic direction and satirise social manipulation, but it didn't.
There are dark moments. The the young people are suffering terribly at the hands of various monsters, the way those watching them behave is shocking in its own way. The reactions of the watchers are amongst the most obscene parts of this movie, because they know there are real people in the cabin, getting attacked, and they behave as though it's a film playing in the background. This aspect was far more horrific than any of the monsters.
The characters are quite stock, although part of the knowing irony of the film is that they've been manipulated into fulfilling their roles. So that makes it totally okay (um?) when they fall into the stereotypical roles they're supposed to occupy, and then go out and follow the pre-ordained paths of victims in a hackneyed slasher movie.
The Cabin In The Woods has its funny moments, and these often arise through confounding our expectations in the action, rather than being a matter of dialogue. However, the main characters didn't seem to have particularly strong personalities, and the themes aren't explored in much depth. So this was a movie that amused me for its duration, but didn't leave a lasting impression.
20th November 2013
If you like this, try:1408 by Mikael HÃ¥fstrÃ¶m
An occult author checks in to room 1408 of the Dolphin Hotel, expecting another paranormal hoax.
Review © Ros Jackson