Starring: Kristen Connolly, Chris Hemsworth, Fran Kranz, Richard Jenkins, Bradley Whitford, Sigourney Weaver
Distributor: Roadshow Films
Runtime: 95 mins. Reviewed in Jun 2012
Once again, a group of college students go into the woods for an isolated holiday. This time, however, they are of slightly better calibre than the usual – though that may not be saying much. However, it is a very short-lived (literally) holiday. And they discover that, despite the remoteness, they are not alone.
One of the characters spends most of his time smoking pot and being quite stoned – though this becomes an important part of the plot. Speaking of plot, the writers (Drew Goddard who wrote Cloverfield and icon of Serenity and Avengers fans, Joss Whedon) must have been really indulging in pot or stronger to have concocted such an engagingly preposterous story, let alone the basis for their playing with horror conventions, visualizing monsters and offering an apocalyptic ending that defies belief.
Actually, many audiences may well be asking themselves as the film progresses whether what the clues are indicating could really be happening. On the one hand, the trials and tribulations of the students, their conjuring up evil spirits and becoming their victims, creates plenty of atmosphere and some shocks. On the other, we are initially introduced to two wisecracking members of a laboratory experimental program (Richard Jenkins and Bradley Whitford). When we see what they are up to – which includes elaborate surveillance equipment and programming people’s lives and behaviour – we probably hesitate in thinking: are they really involved in some kind of satanic rituals.
** Spoiler: they are. **
Having created such a bizarre scenario and having got rid of some of the students, it is time to bring the two strands together, the two remnant students who have gone through more than most of us could bear, and the callow and callous staff of the laboratory who seem to be living in a parallel world. Can the evil spirits, and the incarnated archetypes of primeval superstition and religion be appeased? Is there enough sacrificial blood for them? Will they just simply get rid of everything and everyone? By bringing in Sigourney Weaver as the Director of the lab, the film-makers offer a skerrick of credibility.
And, if that sounds interesting, then this is your film.
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