Post-post modern horror with its tongue firmly in its cheek.
Let’s face it, any mention of a new movie from the creator of Buffy and the writer of Cloverfield should make your ears prick up. But there are so many more reasons why you need – yes need – to see this film. For starters these guys are so steeped in horror lore that they manage to get a reference to simply everything in here, from the more obvious Friday the 13th and Evil Dead nods (the titular cabin itself looks like an exact replica of the one from Sam Raimi’s debut), to blink and you’ll miss them homages to The Thing, The Strangers, Starship Troopers… the list goes on and on. But they also toy with audience expectations so much that they’ve delivered a truly unique piece of cinema – and one I firmly believe will go down in history as a classic.
When friends Dana (Kristen Connolly), Marty (Fran Kranz), Holden (Jesse Williams), Jules (Anna Hutchison) and her boyfriend Curt (Chris Hemsworth) head out to Curt’s cousin’s secluded cabin for the weekend, you might think you know exactly what’s in store for them. Especially when they encounter a creepy old man at the garage who warns them off the place and discover strange items in the cellar, including a journal with a Latin inscription inside.
But this is where the movie’s similarity to others of its kind ends, because unbeknownst to them, their every moment is being manipulated and monitored by unseen forces for an unknown reason. To say any more would be to give a huge chunk of the plot away, and it’s much more fun for you to go into this one cold…
In essence, this was the film Whedon was leading up to in all his Buffy years, throwing everything into the mix, but actually for a reason – not in any gimmicky way. It’s also making a comment about the Big Brother generation and how we’ve been programmed to ignore the danger signals by watching the horror movies this is referencing so lovingly. The main cast of virtual unknowns (apart from Thor’s Hemsworth, who looks nothing like his godly alter-ego here) are a genius touch, because you really don’t know who’s going to survive till the end. Plus it’s nice to see some familiar faces from the Whedon universe in smaller roles (Angel and Dollhouse’s Amy Acker, Buffy’s Tom Lenk) and the surprise cameo at the end from a genre icon is guaranteed to make you smile. Simply put, this is the horror movie to end all horror movies – and it’s a fun ride, to boot. I can’t recommend it highly enough.
The perfect comment on the horror genre in the form of a terrific horror film 11/10