All is not as it seems

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The Cabin in the Woods (15)

Director: Drew Goddard

Starring: Kristen Connolly, Chris Hemsworth, Anna Hutchison, Fran Kranz, Jesse Williams, Richard Jenkins, Bradley Whitford.

FIRST of all, this review can’t tell you a single thing about The Cabin in the Woods.

But here’s what you would glean from a viewing of the trailer: a group of teens head to a secluded holiday cabin.

After investigating a spooky, trinket-laden basement and reading an inscription in Latin (as you do), all hell breaks loose and each fights for survival against the onslaught of nasty things emerging from the woods.

The long-awaited horror comedy by Joss Whedon and Drew Goddard has more to it than meets the eye – the problem is that the meat and bones of the film are what the duo have implored reviewers to keep under wraps.

Of course, if you’re a fan of the genre, or of either loveable film-making geek, then you probably already have your tickets booked.

If not, then please bear one thing in mind – The Cabin in the Woods is one of the most original films you could watch this year.

Those who know their zombies from their ghosts and ghouls will get a huge kick out of spotting the cliches, all of which are nodded to in the tongue-in-cheek, knowing way that Whedon aficionados will recognise and love.

Then there’s the cast – a great line-up of new faces, Whedon project regulars and particularly funny performances from the grown-ups of the piece, Richard Jenkins (Six Feet Under) and The West Wing’s Bradley Whitford.

As with any eagerly anticipated film — it has been sitting on a shelf since 2009, delayed by Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer going bankrupt the following year — there are some flaws present in The Cabin.

Funny, witty, clever, jumpy —it’s all of these things, but scary? Maybe not.

There are a few good frights throughout, but the film doesn’t leave that lingering feeling of horror.

Then, there’s the way it all ends. A special guest appearance and lots of bloodshed later and we’re left with what could have been a simple, witty, and touching final scene.

Instead, someone – presumably studio bosses with a mantra that bigger is better – felt the need to finish on a CGI note, which hardly seems in keeping with the film’s playful, poke-fun ethos.

Despite this, The Cabin in the Woods is a must for fans of Whedon, Goddard or modern day horror.

Just take a friend with you, because you’ll want to talk about it afterwards – and whatever you do, don’t spoil it for anyone else.

Rating: 4/5