Friday, 20 April 2012

Review: Cabin In The Woods

Movies often arouse a variety of emotions in people, as is their intention, but fury is an unusual response. 

But that's exactly what I felt this afternoon when I spent £8.80 of my own hard earned money to watch Cabin In The Woods, the Joss Wheldon produced/written horrommedy (Geddit?), which was hotly hyped by the wonderful Christy Lemire and her cohorts on What The Flick. I respect the collective opinions of Messrs Matt Atchity and Alonso Duralde, and Mme Lemire so much that I went to see the movie on their recommendation. Oh my how you let me down guys!

The attractive and capable cast is not the problem. Innocent heroine Dana (Kristen Connolly, pictured, right) is the lead protagonist of the movie, and joined this journey into wild woodlands by Thor, or Chris Helmsworth (pictured, left), who can be seen camping it up elsewhere in the current Avengers movie, and who plays an all American jock/ part time sociologist (this is supposed to connote emotional depth apparently). Meanwhile Anna Hutchinson plays The Slut, Fran Kranz* the fool/ stoner, and male model Jesse Williams plays against type as the scholar. 

If these seem like unfair tropes, the standard fayre of horror movies, this is because Cabin In The Woods intends it to be so. It's very much a post modern deconstruction of the horror movie genre, begun by precursors like Scream, a decade ago, when viewers began searching for more cerebral horror as the thrills of the overly familiar genre were perceived to have run dry. 

CITW ups the ante in its self-awareness by making inevitable zombie family resurrection and gradual death of the cast the product of an international conspiracy of a murky underground organisation that chooses 5 young people each year to be human sacrifices for some otherworldly beings that hold the planet to randsom.

The perfunctory manner in which the characters were drawn and dichotomy between this and the underground shenanigans of men and women sat at computer monitors and banks of dials and switches making it all happen made me furious. 

A horror movie should work first and foremost as a movie, and this didn't. A movie must have an emotional heart, and I spent much of the time not caring about anyone on screen once I realised the makers of the movie did not. The Dana character played by Connolly is supposed to service this purpose, but once you realise the authors of this movie are hell bent on unfolding a ridiculous conceit, you cease to care even about her, given the contrived nature of her surroundings.

In conclusion, then, Cabin In The Woods is a movie which is short on horror, heart, and comedy, and this renders its attempt at being cerebral irrelevant.

Movie Hack Rating: 1/5

* The only thing in this movie that doesn't suck.

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