You think you know the story. Well you don't. Not really...anyway. I mean...you may know some of the story...but, not the entire story. Because, well...Joss Whedon can be sneaky sometimes. And The Cabin in the Woods is a sneaky kind of film. Let's discuss...shall we?
Now, lemme be upfront with you. I'm not going to spoil the film here...so, don't worry. There's all kinds of reviews circulating out there that are, not only spoiling the main thread of the film for everyone, but they are also clumsily spoiling things like the surprise cameo near the end and the actual ending of the film. Buncha douchebags if you ask us. So, don't fret...we won't go into such douchery here at Film Deviant.
Instead, we'll discuss why this film is different from all the other horror movies that come out these days. Like...different GOOD.
The film starts off with the creepy Lionsgate logo and moves into a creepy animated title screen filled with ritualistic sacrifices and what not...until we cut to a water cooler discussion between, what seem like, two scientists played by the amazing character actor Richard Jenkins and the equally wonderful Bradley Whitford. These guys usually play some sleazy roles...so, it's kind of a hint that they are probably up to some no good. This sequence is also a great opportunity for Whedon to flex his razor-sharp dialogue skills....until we cut to the actual title of the film.
Then, the film reopens on some of your traditional college kids getting ready for a hell of a trip to this cabin in the woods that some one's cousin purchased recently. Most notably...is Kristen Connolly in her panties. We love that kind of stuff around these parts.
Soon the group heads off to this remote cabin in the woods. So, we're treated to some cool nods to the genre...like the desolate gas station complete with creepy old guy that spits tobacco everywhere that may have been pulled out of The Texas Chainsaw Massacre or countless other films that involve those "get the fuck out of there" gas stations. Then, there's the actual cabin that looks like it might have been lifted right out of The Evil Dead films. Later, they introduce all kinds of genre stuff left and right until you get all dizzy salivating at all the cool creatures and horror movie references. The Cabin in the Woods is filled with so many cool "shout-outs" to other genre icons...that it was kind of fun spotting them as the film went on. See if you can spot the "Deadites" scribbled on the wager board later on.
Anyway, all the actors are fine for what is asked of them here. There are no real bad performances that will annoy or disappoint. Chris Hemsworth actually pulls off a pretty good alpha male jock and, as I mentioned earlier, Kristen Connolly is nice to stare at...in her panties. Incidentally, there's a really hot scene in the film involving Anna Hutchinson's Jules and a stuffed wolf's head that I won't say too much about other than....HOLY HOT DAMN!
The FX is top notch for a decently budgeted horror film and Drew Goddard does an expert job at keeping the pace moving along nicely once the fun gets going. And speaking of fun...that's exactly what this film is. It's not really scary...but, it's an entertaining horror film that pays tribute to many of the classics while also turning things upside down on you and creating an all-together brand new experience. It's probably the most original unoriginal horror film you'll encounter at the cineplex this year.
The Cabin in the Woods is a sharp-witted blast of a film intended for the fans of the genre. It is a smartly crafted film full of laughs and wise-ass smirks made by two talented horror geeks for the horror geeks. And it also proves the fact that underground satanic ritualists share some of the same common issues that you and I have...like those goddamn child proof locks!
Also...here's our resident clown from hell, Mr. GhoulHectic Clownie's in-depth video review available in NON-SPOILER form...and SPOILER form if you can't get enough of The Cabin in the Woods!