Witty, scary and wickedly entertaining, The Cabin in the Woods takes on and savages the biggest monster in the horror genre: caricature.
It almost sound like the beginning of a bad joke. “A slut, a jock, an egghead, a stoner and a virgin spend the weekend at a secluded cabin…” Such are the rules and caricatures that horror movies live by ever since the likes of Michael Myers and Jason Vorhees sliced up their first teens decades back.
Director/co-writer Drew Goddard is no doubt a fan. It is felt in every frame of The Cabin in the Woods, a film co-written with fellow pop culture junkie turned pop culture phenom Joss Whedon (of The Avengers and Buffy fame). Together they have written a fantastically witty script that successfully plays with the conventions of a genre that loves to repeat itself. Goddard and Whedon play homage while making fun of much beloved caricatures, yet do so while creating their own thrilling entry into the genre.
Notice the lack of a synopses thus far? That’s because Cabin… is a film that should be seen with a little pre-knowledge as possible (a difficult thing to achieve in these internet spoiler heavy times).
What can be said is that a group of college friends (featuring Chris Hemsworth, Kristen Connolly and one time Power Ranger Anne Hutchison) take a trip to a cabin owned by a family friend. Once there strange things occur which leads them in a fight for their lives.
The film marks Goddard’s debut as a director. A script writer for popular TV shows Lost, Buffy: The Vampire Slayer and Alias, the way Goddard blends comedy, horror and mystery in Cabin… seals his reputation as a great storyteller who knows how to tease and string along his audience from one reveal to another, and also a storyteller who (hopefully) will stick to movies. Too long Hollywood’s best creative talent have made TV the place for quality entertainment. It’s about time pop cinema got its groove back and with Goddard and Whedon making an impact in movie-land, hopefully they’ll stick around for more.
The only gripe to be had with Cabin… is that there is too much “inside baseball” in its story. While horror fans are sure to lap it up, novices to the genre might find themselves scratching themselves on the head during certain scenes that will have those guys in the front row with Evil Dead t-shirts laughing it up.
Then again horror movies attract horror fans, and they are sure to lap up what Goddard and Whedon are offering with The Cabin in the Woods. In short, it’s the most entertaining horror movie in years.