Friday, January 9, 2015

The Cabin in the Woods (2012) Review:

Joss Whedon is one of those talented screenwriters and directors many people consider to be a Hollywood name. Whether after working on several productions that redefined how people see movies or creating new characters and the universes they live in, Whedon has had wide success in the film industry. Most notably, the latest work that most people think of is Marvel's The Avengers (2012). Second in line was this little creature feature which gained a cult following for a very subtle reason. If anyone has seen it, all that they will say is "See it for the ending". Sadly, this reason alone should not exactly be it's best selling point, but this is how the filmed gained its momentum in popularity. Sadly, this film did have some promise but most of it was used in the wrong manner.

Geee,....this cabin oddly looks like the one from
The Evil Dead (1981)
The premise is the first thing audiences have to accept. The beginning starts off like many other isolation horror films where a group of young teenagers go out to a secluded area away from home for fun. As cliche as it is, Whedon and writer/director Drew Goddard turn the horror genre on its head in its early head start on why various horrific things happen. In spite of that once the ball starts rolling, the screenplay begins to collapse on itself for being so convoluted. The idea is just very foolish and may in fact annoy people to think this kind of story line is anyway beyond the writing of a goofy college student. It is because of its self-destruction that there is barely a build up at all and once it occurs, it may not feel like it was worth it. The only other notable component to the writing are the multiple references made to the horror fans. Night of the Living Dead (1968) is definitely one. Then there's The Ring (2002), The Evil Dead (1981), Hellraiser (1987) and even a Jurassic Park (1993) reference.

Even with all the inside nods to the audience and fans, the writing continues to miss. A big flaw is the focus on characters, mainly in comedy. There are numerous scenes where it is supposed to be funny but is viewed at from the wrong angle and therefor the viewer won't feel like laughing. It's like watching Tobe Hooper's The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (1974) and rooting for Leatherface and his family to kill everyone they come in contact with. It feels wrong and somewhat uncleanly. Delightfully although it too is a horror genre cliche, our main characters played by Kristen Connolly, Fran Kranz, Chris Hemsworth, Jesse Williams and Anna Hutchison do combat there opponents. Not much needed to say after that because this is a horror movie so people will die. Obviously. Speaking of which there is plenty of gore to behold. It's not consistent in its frequency of delivery but when it begins, it just keeps getting messier.

Want to guess which one dies first?
This, the special and practical effects for various creatures also mesh in nicely with their surroundings. This is also most likely credited to the cinematographer for getting some nice shots of the woodsy exterior around the cabin and various other places throughout the movie, especially later on. If there's anything else to talk about it is the music composed by David Julyan. The audio sounds like a horror score but it never engages the viewer to feel like they’re in one. This is partially because the writing and tone don't assist it in its cause. Instead, it goes for the usual string stings and creeping tunes but it never works. This isn't Julyan's first horror score either. Most likely it would have been much more effective if the script had the correct tone and used it the right way. So sadly it did not and instead, we get this weird stew of a soup.

It has decent special/practical effects, the appropriate horror, praiseworthy nods to other horror movies and even acceptable acting. But that's it, the screenplay messes it up entirely with a tone that was either unnecessary or directed to focus on the wrong characters. Plus when it’s all over, it almost felt like a waste of time more than a proper buildup.

Points Earned --> 4:10

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