Five teenagers in a remote cabin with no phone signal – with all the powers of the iPhone these days it’s a bit hard to believe – are interrupted in their pursuits to get down and jiggy by a barrage of villains and monsters that systematically try to rip them limb from limb.
Typical, I hear you say? No. These aren’t real zombies, or evil unicorns, these are scripted, directed and talent-scouted killers who are being controlled by a TV studio of “technicians”, ensuring the gory deaths of our heroes and heroines by monitoring their progress for survival on a hi-tech camera network hooked up to their secret lair near the cabin.
The horrors of this imaginative new world, where nothing is ever as it seems – similar to any “reality” TV show these days, but possibly less frightening – are spectacular and the “directors” controlling the cabin’s hidden devils and traps, manage to show the creative work behind producing a really terrifying horror movie.
Screen writers Joss Whedon and Drew Goddard appear to rejoice in giving horror buffs a real challenge in identifying subtle tributes to movies of the past including The Evil Dead.
It has a wonderfully witty and thought-provoking script which all of the actors pull out show-stopping performances to communicate to the audience.
A long-running trend of films and TV shows deconstructing the cinematic appeal of individuals’ public and untimely doom – including the Truman Show and recently The Hunger Games – does, for now, give an interesting 3D element to the film by asking: would you play into the hands of TV directors without even knowing it?
All in all, a fantastic addition to the genre which intentionally embarrasses other horror films for paying too much attention to blood-curdling special effects, and not enough time on intelligent storylines.
If going to see this film as a horror critic, you will love its post-modern portrayal of the genre and if you just enjoy being scarred out of your wits, or using it as an excuse to smother your face into the neck of the person next to you, this film ticks every box there is.