There is a formula to horror movies and this movie is not going to deviate from that formula, or is it? This movie is unapologetically dripping with the entire playlist of horror movie clichés. It was co-written by Joss Whedon which means that not everything is as obvious as you might believe. It's a new take on tired material, but it’s still not fresh enough to pull the “camp” out of this campy trip to the cabin. I enjoyed many parts of this film and I really liked the new perspective but not enough to give it more than a yellow light.
Roommates Dana (Kristen Connolly) and Jules (Anna Hutchison) are planning a getaway weekend to a cabin. They are going to be joined by Curt (Chris Hemsworth), Holden (Jesse Williams) and Marty (Fran Kranz). They drive up to the cabin and along the way they get a menacing warning from Mordecai (Tim De Zam), a gas station attendant that tells them they should take care up there. They arrive and start to enjoy themselves when the cellar opens up and they find a book that has a phrase that when spoken awakens the previous owners who were cannibals and are now zombies. Much mayhem ensues.
Drew Goddard directed this film and with Joss Whedon as a co-writer it has everything you need to be an excellent television show. I know it’s a movie, but the timing of the laugh lines is paced in such a way that it felt like they were relieving the tension almost too often for a film but just right for a TV Show. Please understand that I think the writing is awesome and the talent of the filmmaker shows through as it’s a very well made film. I expect more from this writing team than recycled ideas from television shows they have worked on in the past.
I have struggled with writing this review because I so desperately want to love this movie. When your favorite creative team gets together you want to have more than just average experience. Maybe the fault is mine? I see them as creative gods and really they are just like us. When many of the projects you work on are held in such high regard when you do just a good movie it pales in comparison to the body of work.
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The fact that this movie was all about the people who manage the sacrifices was a great take on the tired and over-used horror movie formula. It was hard for me to figure out what was really going on and I think that was done to keep me engaged. It was a good mix of the main story of the teens in the woods, and the intertwining of what was really going on. They presented more and more information as the events unfolded.
Love, love, love the speaker phone bit. That scene was excellent, I rarely laugh out loud at movies at most they get a grin, but this had me. The betting pool was great I can see people who work in an environment like that would need to have some fun. Making out with a stuffed wolf head…Allow me to quote a Geico commercial. “eeeew, seriously, that is so gross.”
The biggest problem I think I had was the fact the main feel of this film was an amalgam of Angel, Buffy, Dollhouse, and Lost. I could see this movie fitting into a season of any of these shows. It’s the end of the world…..again. They need to come up with a new thing to write about.
Amy Acker is awesome. Love her skill at characterization. It is also nice to see Bradley Whitford again. Brian White is someone I am going to have to seek out and watch his other films. His differences in characters from Good Deeds to this film are different enough that I want to see what other films he has done.
What movie have you really wanted to love but was disappointed by in the end because it was good but not as awesome as you expected?