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‘The Cabin in the Woods’ takes the idea that there is an unspeakable evil in the world and the only hope to save us all rests with five young college students all who fit nicely into the stereotype of ‘jock’, ‘nerd’, ‘slut’, ‘the pure one’ and ‘the innocent one’. They’re so stereotypical that they even make fun of that fact, which makes it such a brilliant horror film – it doesn’t take itself too seriously.
These films like ‘The Cabin in the Woods’ serve the same purpose in that they take some old stereotypes and stories that we’ve seen before, turns them on their heads and beats some life into them. Quite literally beaten when it involves zombies.
Only British humour could breathe some life back into the zombie film, with Simon Pegg and Nick Frost (post ‘Spaced’ but not quite the stars they are now) trying to survive the apocalypse by hiding out in their local pub – but not before they’ve saved the girl… and Simon Pegg’s mum.
What makes this film so brilliant is that gag after gag keeps on coming but it never feels like an overload. The ending is so quintessentially British; you just can’t help but smile.
This film turns stereotypes on their heads and reminds us that judging a book by its cover isn’t always the best idea. Alan Tudyk and Tyler Labine might look like in-bred crazed hillbillies intent on murder, but really they just want to have a beer and fix their cabin. When some crazy college kids turn up thinking they’ve kidnapped their friend – well, there is a lot of blood soaked misery as one accident after another kills off the college kids.
It’s a twist on the genre that we have rarely seen done well where the plucky young kids are actually the bad guys and how easy it is to turn on someone. Like ‘The Cabin in the Woods’ it plays on this reversal of character stereotypes to bring you roaring belly laugh of a horror.
A gun toting cowboy, a plucky college student and two very dangerous sisters armed to the teeth against a bucket load of zombies – Who do you think is going to win?
‘Zombieland’ is probably one of the greatest American zombie pastiches of the last decade where all the heroes are fighting for a noble cause. Finding a Twinkie is of course the best cause. There is a fabulous cameo by Bill Murray too.
Make sure to also have a look at these other great films similar to ‘Zombieland’.
Stereotypes in horror films are a fact of life. There is no escaping this. Some have taken themselves far too seriously while others have just taken the approach of “do we really care”? Here are two movies similar to ‘The Cabin in the Woods’, however they focus more on cheap gags and not-quite-up-to-scratch special effects rather than great storylines and character development than the latter.
Before James Gunn sank his teeth in ‘Guardians of the Galaxy’, he made ‘Slither’, where an alien takes over the town turning everyone into a zombie and it’s up to Nathan Fillion as the town sheriff to quite literally “blow this alien up”.
The final film in the ‘Cornetto trilogy’ sees Simon Pegg, Nick Frost and co on a pub crawl – only aliens have other plans for them. It’s a complete pastiche of the ‘Invasion of the Body Snatchers’, only instead of trying to stay awake, they’ve just got to stay sober enough to not be turned into a perfect clone with blue blood. Very tricky when you’re on a pub crawl.
This is a fitting end to the trilogy which includes lots of blood, gore, a decent pint and Bill Nighy turning up all over the place. A slice of fried gold.
There are of course far more films to add to this list, as who can forget ‘The Evil Dead’ with its chainsaw wielding goodness, as well as even more comic examples such as the ‘Scary Movie’ franchise.
If you’ve got a good one that tears your side open in horror, post it below.
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