Bar the office workers that actually open the film, the Uni/college students who we are introduced too and who are heading off to the cabin are such horror movie stereotypes that they, in the words of Peter Bradshaw, raise a smirk. The first is swanning around her bedroom in a t-shirt and knickers and the stoner turns up in a car full of smoke with a huge bong. There’s also a sporty hunk, his sexy girlfriend and their nerdy-but-hot friend from out of town (who might get it on with the knickers girl later on?) completing the cast and they all jump into their campervan and head for the isolated cabin.
What follows is nowhere near as derivative as you might expect though and the film actually reveals itself as a much more playful deconstruction of horror genre conventions, somewhat in the vain of ‘Scream’.
Some inventive ideas follow which leave you guessing the next step along the way. It’s a film with tense moments (especially in the Hitchcock-ean manner of knowing what the onscreen characters don’t) and a few laughs too, but rarely scary moments. Some of the little details are very nice and some of the decisions taken in the end are also satisfying, however to appreciate these little details you have to jump over some pretty big potholes and accept some pretty strange overall concepts. I am left with some unresolved questions a week after watching the film, which may just be my stupidity, but I have listed a few of them below in a little plot-spoiler section anyway. They look a little pedantic written down, but they feel relevant when you’re watching the film.
Also, I defy anyone to find Marty’s voice anything other than incredibly annoying throughout!
That said, it’s certainly more imaginative than most of the shallow, derivative slasher-flicks that get churned out of Hollywood and perhaps the whole film can be viewed as a melodramatic metaphor for the Hollywood studio film culture.
So, good fun, some nice details but some big holes along the way.
3 on 5
Director: Drew Goddard
Starring: Kristen Connolly, Chris Hemsworth, Anna Hutchison, Fran Kranz, Jesse Williams, Richard Jenkins, Bradley Whitford
UK Release: 13th April 2012
PLOT SPOILER QUESTIONS
Whose cabin are they staying at?! Curt’s cousins? Dana mentions that Curt doesn’t even have a cousin, so how did this whole trip come about in the first place?
A bit of misty-smoke gets Curt to change his mind from “let’s all stick together” to “let’s all go our separate ways” but more to the point, why does everyone else go along with it? That bit’s a bit of a stretch.
I don’t quite get the whole added-complication of making their escapade into a film. They could never release the film with all of the cast mysteriously dead anyway, so why go through the difficult and elaborate steps of making a film just to sacrifice some people? And on that, if one needs to be a virgin, saying “well, we have to work with what we have” gets a laugh, but it kind of invalidates the whole exercise!