Tuesday 6 December 2011

Thor Has Cabin Fever

The much, much delayed Cabin in the Woods, the horror film with a twist from the writing/directing team of Drew Goddard/Josh Whedon is finally getting a release date, in April next year, and to prove that it is finally happening, a poster and now a trailer have been released. The film was actually shot in 2009, at a time when cast member Chris Hemsworth (Thor) was a virtual unknown for worldwide audiences apart from a Star Trek cameo, long before he took on the part of the iconic Nordic God Thor that brought him worldwide fame. MGM, the studio behind it went bankrupt after spending a further year post-converting it to 3D, and the film was bought by horror specialist Lionsgate. The trailer seems extremely spoilerific and raises an important question about how much or how little a studio should reveal of a film that is supposed to contain so many twists.

So is the trailer showing too much? It has long become an annoying that trend that trailers are spoiling more and more these days, whether it is showing the best scenes of an action film, of a horror, or worse, showing scenes that do not even appear in the final cut, a dubious practice that Dimension Film (Piranha 3D) will happily admit to. But it becomes particularly frustrating with films with a twist. One of the worse example of recent years was What Lies Beneath with Harrison Ford and Michelle Pfeiffer, whose trailer basically showed the entire plot from start to finish! Imagine a trailer for The Usual Suspects showing Kevin Spacey driving away in his limo as we realise he was Keiser Soze all along, this is pretty much how far it went.

And a first peek at the trailer does seem to indicate that many of the film twists are ruined. But how much are we exactly seeing? It might not be as simple as that. Besides, first time director Drew Goddard wrote extensively for Alias then Lost, two series that were notorious for unwrapping secrets within secrets like Russian dolls. And indeed the marketing team must have found itself in a tricky position. Without revealing too much in the trailer, the film would look like nothing more than a rehash of Cabin Fever, Evil Dead, Wrong Turn, The Hills Have Eyes and so many others films featuring hapless city types trapped in an isolated place facing some evil forces.

So it looks like the trailer is almost playing with these expectations, by offering us all these horror stereotypes, including the now obligatory "no signal" line of dialogue that immediately indicates that most of the cast will die a violent death, the scary hillbilly who must have something to do with the nastiness that lie ahead etc..., and even teasing us by telling us "You think you know the story..." And then it hits us. just the same way the owl hits in the invisible force field that mysteriously surrounds the area. This then reveals the true colours of what appears to be a rubik cube of a film (as hinted by the playful poster and its visual paradox).

This then turns into a Hostel meets Matrix kind of scenario, with the cast seemingly toyed with for whatever reason by unseen characters who even seem able to manipulate reality. Are they all dead and this is purgatory? Are they in the Matrix? Is this the ending of Source Code turned on its face? Did they take the blue pill or the red pill? Did they follow the rabbit?

I have it from anonymous sources that while the trailer does reveal a fair bit of the first half of the film, there is much more to it, which is intriguing, as long as the film does not suffer from the Lost curse of trying too hard and ending up making absolutely no sense whatsoever with too many questions unanswered. We will have to wait until April to find out!

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