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Five friends head into the forest on a remote vacation. On arrival, their joyful break takes a dark turn, as the cabin’s horrors and mysteries begin to reveal themselves.

2017 marks the 5th anniversary of Cabin in the Woods, and thankfully this clever horror movie is still as fun and ripe with genre convention twists as ever. So, if you haven’t managed to catch a glimpse of the movie yet, there’s no better time to get comfy, grab the popcorn (and maybe a pillow to hide behind) and get ready to watch this Halloween treat.

The film centres on a group of five friends heading for a getaway at a free cabin for the weekend, which includes pre-‘Thor’ Chris Hemsworth. As soon as they arrive director Drew Goddard is in complete control of you. Toying around with your conventional fears as you consistently second guess each outcome to scenarios you thought were set in stone. There’s a certain wink to the audience as he takes you down the traditional path of horror, all the while dropping in little nuggets of fun and surprises that will keep you hooked into this bizarre and creative adventure.

Now, to be clear the film isn’t an outright horror. However, there is definitely going to be a good heap of gore and scares. Sitting back and watching the cast try to get manoeuvred like a twisted game of chess is an enticing viewing. Dana (Kristen Connolly) does a great job throughout the feature by growing and adapting to the murders that surround herself and her friends. That being said, the cast is generally pretty strong but the ‘pothead’ friend Marty (Fran Kranz) is an absolute scene stealer, dropping in one-liners and ludicrous conspiracy theories throughout the runtime. Think of him as a much funnier version of the drunk bloke you met in the kebab shop at 2 am rattling on about how trees are actually deluxe owl hotels or something…

Strong cast aside, the film’s real draw is its mesmerising plot, a story that is going to hook you in from start to finish as you try to guess what’ll be coming around each and every corner. Even better is how the film is like a treasure chest of horror icons and franchise nods, just waiting to be uncovered. Although, it sometimes feels like it treads the line between a horror and a ‘Where’s Wally’, losing at times the film’s unique nature. Nevertheless, the film eventually manages to pull itself back on track, even when the third act threatens to blow the whole thing skyward. The strong performances and bread-crumb trail left behind holds it all together as the film’s enormous pay off comes crashing down on you like an avalanche of the finest ‘trick or treat’ candy.

Cabin in the Woods, is a must-see for horror fans, even if you aren’t the genre’s biggest fan (myself included) – there is a lot of fun to be had here. Enjoyable horror wrapped around an interesting plot, you’ll immediately be going back for a second watch to catch out all the clues leading to the films entertaining climax that you might have missed. Its horror gold, and one trick you deserve to witness this Halloween.

4/5

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Posted by Matthew Hill

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