Back in 2007, whilst sitting in traffic, Joss Whedon creator of Girl Power TV show Buffy the Vampire Slayer and purveyor of strong female fictional characters, stumbled across the horrifyingly misogynistic billboard campaign for the then upcoming Liongate movie Captivity – it’s stab at the (already dying) torture porn craze. incensed, Whedon wrote an impassioned post on his blog entitled ‘Lets Watch A Girl Get Beaten To Death‘ lambasting the blatant sexist sadism of the movie and asking for the MPAA to remove the films rating. How ironic it is that 5 years later Joss Whedon’s love hate letter to the horror movie will be released by Lionsgate themselves.
Sprung from the fertile, horror savvy imaginations of Joss Whedon and Drew Goddard (Cloverfield), The Cabin in the Woods kicks off like any generic horror film might: a rowdy group of five college friends (Connelly, Hemworth, Fran Kranz, Anna Hutchison and Jesse Williams) roll out for a weekend of shot gunning beers, hooking up and any other salacious Hollywood teen activity in an isolated country cabin, only to be attacked by horrific supernatural creatures in a night of endless terror and bloodshed.
Sounds like every horror movie you’ve seen, right? But this is a Joss Whedon movie, remember. Not everything is what it seems and from now on I will no longer make any more mention of the plot because The Cabin in the Woods like all good horror movies – the less you know the more fun you’ll have.
What Whedon & Goddard pull off here in one of the most fun and sharpest horror satires since Scream, which both celebrates and rebukes the horror genre. They take everything that we love about the slasher movie as well as everything that disgusted them about torture porn and tackle it head on in a witty, intelligent way that extends way past Genre exercise and into ancient social anthropology by looking at humanity’s ancient voyeuristic relationship with sex and violence.
The Cabin in the Woods is by no means a perfect movie – the final act lacks the twists and invention of the earlier acts and the ending is a bit too nihilistic and easy for my liking but you can not ignore that it’s one of the freshiest, smartest and funniest horror flicks to hit a multiplex in a very, very long time.