Five friends head to an abandoned lake house and find that they are part of a much bigger plan.


Until I heard the concept of the movie, The Cabin in the Woods sounded like yet another haunted-house-by-the-lake story that despite my cynicism would still leave me terrified. But writing and directing team Joss Whedon and Drew Goddard hardly put a foot wrong in this satirical, (literally) biting thriller that packs surprises as well as punches.

The plot is, at first, conventional to an art. Five young adults (a jock, a pretty blonde, a stoner, a clever guy and a shy girl) meet up to drive down to the lake and stay at Curt (Chris Hemsworth)’s ‘cousin’s house’. The place is deserted, eerie but peaceful. All is moving along as expected until a bird flies into a invisible electric ‘wall’ and suddenly there is more to this story than first thought. They discover the typical creepy basement, complete with diaries, an old wedding dress, weapons and toys. As they examine their findings, we see two men in a high-tech office placing bets with their colleagues on the five’s fate- and they are surrounded by screens feeding directly from cameras placed in the house. What’s their game? Is this a new twist on Big Brother? Or are they in face part of a ritual that is out of their control?

Without giving too much away, Whedon and Goddard take us through the routine of a classic horror plot, with the added twist of the ‘eye in the sky’ controlling their choices and relations with various gases and contrived situations to suit the game-makers. The performances are good, if not predictable- with Chris Hemsworth’s jock leader suitably teasing the likes of Kristen Connelly’s  shy heroine Dana. As the characters meet their maker and their world comes crashing down around them, we are left to wonder- do we control our fate or are we at the mercy of a higher power?

A great script, paired with exceptional design and effects make The Cabin in the Woods the ultimate horror movie for film fans.


By Stephanie Broad