Thursday, April 19, 2012

Dollar Bin Splurge of the Week:The Cabin in the Woods(2012)

By Eric Polk-
Warning:If you have not seen this film as of yet, please DO NOT read this review! It will spoil your visual dinner.

I get scared when a horror movie comes out that is universally praised by every horror fan that you know. It raises your expectations that much more and increases your fear of disappointment. All weekend long I tried my damnest not to read a single review, single comment, or even a commercial regarding the latest creation by Joss Whedon(though latest is a relative term considering this film was to have been released two years ago)

Anyhoo, after watching this movie with my wife(non-horror fan), I gotta say that this is without a doubt one of the best horror films I've seen in years. It's locked into standard scare conventions but does make its own mark...boy does it ever!

Two technicians in a sophisticated industrial facility — Richard Sitterson and Steve Hadley — are getting ready for an unknown operation, one of several taking place around the world.

Meanwhile, five college students — Dana, Curt, Jule, Marty, and Holden — drive out for a vacation to a remote cabin in the woods, while the technicians keep an eye on the students with hidden cameras. Each student is manipulated into a fairly common horror archetype by the organization, a point which is made several times in the film itself.

At the cabin, the friends divide up rooms and settle in while the observing technicians place bets on which scenario the students will unwittingly select. Once the students enter the basement through a trap-door, they discover a number of artifacts, each of which hints at its own sub-genre of horror ranging from a sphere which is reminiscent of Lemarchand's box from the Hellraiser series to a scarab-like pendant. Dana reads an incantation from an old diary, which is the trigger for a scenario involving a family of zombies which rise from the grave.

Curt and Jules go outside to have sex, under the influence of the technicians who remotely administer drugs via a ventilation system. Zombies attack the lovers and Jules is killed. Meanwhile, in the cabin, the paranoid Marty begins to feel as if things are being controlled by "puppeteers" (it is later stated that his use of marijuana, treated with additional mind-altering chemicals by the technicians, has made him resilient to the drugs being used to guide the students' actions) and goes outside, where he runs into the fleeing Curt and a zombie. The friends attempt to barricade the cabin against the zombies while the technicians attempt to bring about their deaths. Marty finds a surveillance camera in his room, confirming his paranoid fantasies, but he is attacked and presumably killed off-screen. Holden, Dana, and Curt flee in their RV.

They get as far as a long mountain tunnel, but their escape is thwarted when the technicians blow it up, cutting them off from the outside world. Curt uses his motorbike to jump the gap in the exit road but as he jumps, he runs into an enormous force field that kills him, and Holden and Dana realize something much greater is happening than they had believed. Dana now believes Marty's talk of "puppeteers." A zombie kills Holden and the RV crashes into the lake. The technicians drink in celebration that they have completed the "ritual," while the screens in the background show Dana fighting for her life with the zombie. The party soon stops when a phone call from "upstairs" informs them that Marty is still alive, and he rescues Dana.

Marty, having survived his encounter with the zombies, came across a hidden control box near the cabin from which he was able to access an elevator with glass walls. He and Dana take it down to the facility where the technicians are, and as they do so, they pass by a number of monsters, each of which corresponds to an artifact from the cellar. Their glass elevator is but one of many pods, each containing a monster. Dana and Marty escape the elevator but are cornered by a SWAT team. To escape, they release the monsters in all the pods, who start killing everyone in the facility.

I gotta say this a very creative film for the most part. It takes horror archetypes and dissolves them into a beautiful chaos that I'm sure almost all horror fans will appreciate. The gore is really gore, the suspense is really tense at some points, and, as a bonus, it's funny but not to the point it goes into parody. It's also real nice to have a very, very memorable character in Marty(score another point for horror characters named Marty :-)). Hard to believe he is the consciousness of this film but it works.And the scene in which all hell breaks loose...OH YEAH!!!

Look for an appearance by someone returning to their horror roots after a long, long time away. The only minor flaw(and it's very minor)is the reason as to why this is happening. A bit weak but nevertheless A Cabin in the Woods needs to be placed on a tier reserved for the best of horror.

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