Welcome to quite possibly the shortest review I’ll ever write.
At the risk of overhyping by way of under reporting or spoiling it in any way, I will say only a few things about “The Cabin in the Woods”. Yes, you have your five archetypical pretty people who go off to the titular cabin for your usual “happens-in-every-slasher-film” party weekend. A creepy local attempts to warn them off, but of course, he’s ignored. They get to the cabin and things go downhill in short order.
What happens next?
Well, that’s where it gets complicated.
Written by certified Geek God Joss Whedon and “Cloverfield” scribe Drew Goddard (in his directorial debut), “Cabin” takes concepts we all know – and in some cases grown tired of – and makes you look at them again in a fresh light. True, other movies have done this to a degree: you have a movie like “Hatchet” which competently updates the formula or one like “Tucker and Dale Vs Evil” which twists things around and adds a liberal dose of humor. However, I think it’s safe to say we have a new beast altogether with this. What Whedon and Goddard have created here is something that feels like the slasher film that we all know and love, but it is also whip-smart on all fronts. Ordinarily, when you get smart and clever in a slasher film, it turns out to be fairly bloodless and focusing more on suspense elements. Not so much here. “Cabin” serves up buckets of blood and most likely not how you’d expect it.
So, what do we have now? It’s fresh. It’s smart. It’s bloody. Surely, a horror movie can’t get better than that? Wrong again, Sparky.
“Cabin” is also a fun movie. Love or hate Whedon for his previous work, but there’s no denying that the man can turn a phrase. In this movie, he uses that skill to create wonderful characters that – at first blush – seem like the standard slasher-movie characters until… well, you’re just going to have to see it. Speaking of characters, the cast swings for the wall and puts it in the upper deck. Kristen Connolly, Chris Hemsworth (before his star-making turn in “Thor”), Anna Hutchison, Fran Kranz, Jesse Williams are perfect in their respective roles and I’d be hard pressed to find a clunker anywhere in this cast.
“Cabin in the Woods” isn’t the one your mother warned you about – it’s the one you’ve been waiting for – literally. Are you still reading this? Go see it already!