Bopping with Niall JP O'Leary

Niall O'Leary insists on sharing his hare-brained notions and hysterical emotions. Personal obsessions with cinema, literature, food and alcohol feature regularly.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

The Cabin in the Woods

Ah, it makes an old horror buff's heart grow warm! An unholy, if welcome, conjunction of Shirley Jackson ('The Lottery') and H.P. Lovecraft (Chthulu), 'The Cabin in the Woods' is a humorous celebration of the schlockier depths of horror. Five pretty teenage stereotypes go off to the titular cabin - a structure not just like but pretty much identical to that of 'The Evil Dead' - where they encounter well, pretty much everything you'd expect, and a lot more. Because, you see, the cabin is not all it appears....
Which is pretty clear from the outset (and from the trailer), so don't expect too many surprises. The joy of Drew Goddard's film is the joy with which he embraces all the tropes and conventions of the genre and doesn't just send them up (a la Kevin Williamson's 'Scream' movies), but revels in them. It is silly fun, but undeniable fun.
Knowing its territory so well, it tries to cover all bases, and largely succeeds. For instance, while the opening credits were rolling, I eagerly looked for a cameo appearance from a big name ("And with...."). You need a heavyweight for the big villain, don't you? Not really, but given all the unknowns involved (Chris Hemsworth is the biggest name listed, though Richard Jenkins also features), such a guest role would add a little class (remember De Niro in "Angel Heart"?). I had a little twinge of disappointment; there was no one of note listed. This movie might be just too close to the middle-budget, B-movie rip-offs Hollywood recently has churned out after all (eg. 'Friday the 13th'). Thankfully there is a small, but appropriate cameo towards the end. And anyway this is original enough to be a million miles distant from Hollywood's usual horror output (usually horrific in every way). Much better than Raimi's last "Drag Me to Hell", this is inventive shlock with a tongue so far in its cheek it's pierced the skin.
It makes me want to go out and call up the Old Ones now.... Or maybe I'll just go see it again.
Oh, by the way, did I mention "The Ones Who Walk Away from Omelas"? There's even a philosophical point.

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