The Cabin in the Woods (2012 dir. Drew Godard)

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Sandra’s Verdict

Okay so I’d waited for over a year to see this film, not only did it have the beautiful and very manly Jesse Williams in, from Grey’s Anatomy and Brooklyn’s Finest, but it was co-written and produced by Joss Whedon, the genius behind the TV series Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Angel, which I was addicted to throughout university; so, as you can imagine, I had very high expectation for this film. And post-film, having avoided all the trailers and spoiler reviews beforehand, I can say that the long wait was most definitely worth it!

According to Whedon the film was a critique of the horror genre; “I love being scared. I love that mixture of thrill, of horror, that objectification/identification thing of wanting definitely for the people to be alright but at the same time hoping they’ll go somewhere dark and face something awful. The things that I don’t like are kids acting like idiots, the devolution of the horror movie into torture porn and into a long series of sadistic comeuppances. Drew and I both felt that the pendulum had swung a little too far in that direction”  (http://www.totalfilm.com/news/joss-whedon-talks-the-cabin-in-the-woods  retrieved 17/04/12).

This desire to swing the pendulum in another direction has paid off as The Cabin in the Woods is brave and original in its ambition and the audience is kept in the loop about the layers involved in this story without spoiling the surprises. The film is aware of itself and the stereotypic aspects of the genre and while playing up to them in places manages not to take itself too seriously by subverting them with refreshing twists elsewhere.

The direction from Drew Goddard is strong and the characters are believable and likable with enough time to setting them up so that the audience roots for them while they face the delights offered up by the cabin.

This is a good escapism film, that will not bog you down with complicated back stories and spend three-quarters of its running time giving you clues with a short ten minute battle or chase sequence at the end; instead it is laden with gory treats that will trick and tease you keeping you entertained and  amused throughout.

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21 Jump Street (2012)

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Andrew’s Verdict
Anyone who remembers the original 21 Jump Street series as a kid will immediately jump to see this film and after seeing it will probably have mixed feelings. The film is good, enjoyable to watch and plays on high school stereotypes in an original and amusing way, but at the same time is stupid to an extent that may leave some people thinking “what was that all about”. However, it’s simply a good lighthearted comedy that tells an underlying story of the misfit going back to school, becoming one of the cool kids and getting the girl. The script is witty and for me there are some excellent moments of the stupid humour that I describe above and I was laughing from the get go.

The performance by Jonah Hill was compelling and interesting and having seen him in Money Ball most recently, I can honestly say he’s a very good actor.

Personally I always find Channing Tatum hard to watch because (not that anyone else would) I can never fault him in his roles as he always delivers, but I find that he’s almost playing a cameo of himself (big, strong, handsome, leader). Well in this film they make a distinct point about not over playing to these strengths and we see something a little different in places and it works.

Overall Tatum and Hill play the best buddies role excellently. I could imagine them as Devito and Schwarznegger in a reprisal of Twins for example, and believe me this is a complement despite whatever connotations of acting or physic you might think I’m making. I am in fact eluding to the on-screen chemistry of 21 Jump Street which reminded me of being at school or what I wish school could have been (busting school drug rings, messing up the school play and yes, winning the girl at the end of the night) .

An easy to follow plot with stupidly funny humour and a little romance. What more could you want from a laid back friday night.