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The Cabin in the Woods - Film Review By A.D.Harris

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As a fan of a great horror, a film like The Cabin in the Woods always stood a chance of being a success. Yet, to truly pin down this film as horror would be a gross injustice to what is undeniably a surprisingly hilarious, bitterly dark, fantastically inventive and totally insane tribute to a number of genres. Its tagline so casually states that if "you think you know what's going to happen, think again." You've heard that a thousand times before, yet The Cabin in the Woods actually delivers on what it promises. As of this moment, you haven't seen a film like The Cabin in the Woods. That is a fact.

Thus follows a difficult film to review, as to spoil anything close to where the film goes would more than just wreck your experience of it, but it would be an insult to film makers Joss Whedon and Drew Goddard. Their script is the films ace, happily going from one scary horror sequence to another comedy sequence at the blink of an eye, jarring your feelings and leaving you laughing at the most grim of scenes and then jumping out of your seats at a great punch line. It's this total disregard for film etiquette that makes the viewing experience so fresh and exciting. There are moments so dark it is almost pitch black, yet you'll be splitting your sides with utter delight. It may make you feel a little sadistic, but you won't care as it's just too much fun.

Perhaps the best way to review the film is by putting it into simplistic terms. Yes, there are five friends who have the traditionally stupid idea of finding the most remote of locations and then having a wild party, getting drunk, having sex and doing drugs. On top of this, there is undeniably a mysterious #word omitted# which hunts them from the forest. Yet there is much more to this story than meets the eye. You will be introduced to this additional angle very early on in the film, and it will be right in front of your eyes. But you shouldn't be allowed the luxury to even think about what that could be beforehand. You should sit in the theatre and question what you are seeing, laugh at what you don't know, jump at what is behind the doors, gawp at what is thrown at you and wonder about what is coming.

Yes, it also does allow for the film to include every cliché of the horror genre, but its all part of the plan. It laughs along at them with you as the film makers know you know what's coming. That allows them to let it play out at times, and then at other points just completely go a different way. The acting team all seem to be having a lot of fun, with particular stand outs from the five being a pre-Thor Chris Hemsworth as the alpha male of the group and Fran Krantz as paranoid stoner Marty. The film’s best performances come from Bradley Whitford and Richard Jenkins who inject most of the films biggest laughs and wicked surprises. They both appear to be having the time of their lives, and it shows.

Once the credits smash onto the screen, and the lights of the theatre come up you'll feel a little sad. Not through disappointment at what you had witnessed, but that you'll never get to experience The Cabin in the Woods for the first time again.

It truly is a pure film experience. It is a moment of Joss Whedon and Drew Goddard's careers which will find a cult following. It is a story that will be remembered as the one when the genre was twisted in ways you could only wish were done more often.

If there's one thing I could sum up with which explains everything as well as nothing at all, it is this; do not think this film is about a cabin in the woods, however there is a cabin in the woods in the film.

9/10

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