The Cabin in the Woods (Drew Goddard, 2012)

A meta-review

What's it about? 5 college kids head off to a – you’ve guessed it – cabin in the woods, whereupon they ill-advisedly venture into the cellar and horrible things start to happen. You know how these things go. Or do you?

Is it any good? There's been a lot of chat about spoilers for this movie, but in truth, it shows its hand to the audience fairly early on, so it's not really spoiling things to say it's not a straightforward horror flick. Instead, we have a very enjoyable meta-horror, which simultaneously celebrates and knowingly deconstructs the standard teen slasher film. It has a clever central premise which offers a witty explanation for how and why those ridiculous, formulaic things that happen in horror movies happen the way they do, allowing for a few good jokes at the expense of the horror genre. However, it’s a pity the makers don’t apply the same level of re-invention to the scares, which are disappointingly routine, whilst the ending feels as if they writers finally ran out of steam. Nevertheless, there’s much fun to be had spotting the numerous references to torture porn, ‘reality TV’ horror films and more monster/ghost/killer movies than you could shake a blood-stained stick at. How many can you spot? The performances are all good, with Richard Jenkins and Bradley Whitford’s bickering double act especially enjoyable, and I particularly liked the mer-man element. Overall, I thought it was terrible.....actually I'm lying, I thought it was very good. Made you look! Made you stare!

Anything else I should know? Confused by all the colours above? That's because you've been reading a meta-review. I wrote it this way because I'm reviewing a meta-film. Do you see? It's like the film? Do you see? Do you see? Do you see? Below, I reveal the art of movie reviewing with a deconstruction of the above text.

Deconstruction Key
Title : Purely Factual - starts review off relatively normally.
Italic : First indication this review may be trying to do something different.
Blue : Basic plot summary, includes compliment to reader for being able to read title - makes them warm to me as reviewer.
Green: Tantalises reader - makes them want to read more.
Picture: Features a pretty girl and/or gore, preferably both. You'd be surprised how that increases traffic to the site.
Grey: Preamble, conversational style, puts reader at ease, sets context for film.
Maroon: Straight to the overall opinion, before reader gets bored and leaves.
Link : Explanation and extra reading for the reader. Suggests I've done some homework before reviewing. Emphasis on the word 'suggests'.
Dark Green: things I liked in the film
Red : things I thought could have been improved
Pink: return to positives, also effort to establish my credibility in reader's mind by intimating knowledge of genre and other movies. Suitably vague to avoid being pinned down on errors.
Orange: 'witty' adaptation of well-known phrase to suit topic of film - distracts reader from lack of review substance with humour. Classic defence mechanism against criticism - I can say I wasn't taking the whole thing seriously.
Aquamarine: Throws down challenge to reader, invites comments.
Black: Comment on performances, selecting one or two of note to imply I am qualified to judge such things. Again, reinforces credibility. I think.
Purple: obscure reference to film which acts as tidbit of intriguing information to entice reader, without being a spoiler.
Underlined :Overall personal opinion.
White (highlight to see) : Big Twist at the end!

What does the Fonz think? I think you analyse things too much. Film is good fun.

Buy it on Amazon

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