Today: April 14, 2024
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The Cabin In The Woods

You shouldn’t read this
review. Seriously. Stop now! Nothing’s going to be revealed, no spoilers are going to be
dropped. In fact, don’t read any
reviews of The Cabin In The Woods.
Just go see it cold. You’ll
thank me.

 

You see, over the next few weeks, you’re going to read a lot of reviews
of Drew Goddard and Joss Whedon’s delirious meta-horror The Cabin In The Woods. And they’re all going to say the same
thing; that it’s almost impossible to review The Cabin In The Woods without spoiling something. The less you know going in, the more
you’ll enjoy it. They’re also
going to throw around words like subversive, smart, funny, inventive, reverent,
referential, original, bonkers, off-beat, knowing and post-modern. And it is all of those things. But all you really need to know about The Cabin In The Woods is it’s the
best, most entertaining, slice of sheer balls out insanity you’re going to see
all year.

 

Here’s as much of the plot it’s safe to tell you: Five cookie cutter
college kid/horror movie stereotypes head off for a weekend of fun and frolics
in an isolated cabin in the woods.
You just know it’s going to end in tears. Or, to be more precise, violent, bloody death. There’s the jock, Curt (thunder god Thor himself Chris Hemsworth), his slutty blonde bimbette girlfriend Jules (Anna Hutchinson), her goody-two-shoes
friend Dana (Kristen Connolly),
sensitive hunk Holden (Grey’s Anatomy’s Jesse
Williams
) and nerdy stoner Marty (Dollhouse’s Fran Kranz). So far, so familiar. You’ve seen this kind of film so many times you can
practically predict in which order they’re going to die. After all, that’s half the fun of teen
horror movies, their adherence to the formula. But just who are those two middle-aged guys (Bradley Whitford & Richard Jenkins) in the
underground bunker?
Why does white-coated scientist and Whedon regular (not to mention
fanboy goddess) Amy Acker look so
harried? Why are they spying on the
gang, watching their every move, controlling them? What the Hell are they up to?

 

Just what Whitford, Jenkins and Acker are up to lies at the heart of The Cabin In The Woods. Intelligent, witty and playful, Whedon
and Goddard have achieved the impossible: they’ve crafted a genuinely fun,
post-modern horror movie that’s a reverent celebration of the genre it
parodies, defiantly skewering the accepted conventions while expertly
satisfying them. Where Scream was
content to be smugly, almost cynically, self-aware and self-referential, with
characters who knew the “rules” of horror movies in one long movie in-joke, The Cabin In The Woods is
cleverer than that, deconstructing and rebuilding the horror movie from the
ground up, mindf*ckng the audience all the way.

 

The performances are uniformly excellent with the appropriately spunky
Last Girl Connolly, a charismatic pre-Thor Hemsworth and Kranz all particularly good while Whitford and Jenkins
get the film’s best lines as the two wage-slaves commenting on the action. For the first two thirds of the film,
the script crackles with the kind of dialogue only Whedon writes and Whedon and
Goddard’s obvious love of the genre shines through as they pay tongue-in-cheek
homage to the conventions even as they subvert them. And then, in the film’s final third, they go bat-shit crazy
serving up a last act that’s demented, shocking, scary, and hilarious with
buckets of gore and tidal waves of blood, more twists than a corkscrew, perhaps
the best horror movie cameo ever and a satisfyingly over-the-top climax that
demolishes any sequel/franchise possibilities.

 

Gutsy, funny and audacious, The Cabin In The Woods is both a love letter
and a Dear John to the horror genre.
It’s a genuine instant classic and may just be the ultimate Saturday
night movie. See it before some
lying hipster smugo tells you they guessed the ending.

 

 

David Watson

David Watson is a screenwriter, journalist and 'manny' who, depending on time of day and alcohol intake could be described as a likeable misanthrope or a carnaptious bampot. He loves about 96% of you but there's at least 4% he'd definitely eat in the event of a plane crash. Email: david.watson@filmjuice.com

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