April 21, 2012

The Cabin in the Woods

The rumors are true. The Cabin in the Woods is a new horror film that doesn't suck. It's the movie equivalent of a haunted house at a sleazy traveling carnival. We expect a thinly plotted slasher film about dumb adolescents perishing in some kind of Evil Dead-Friday the 13th mash-up. Instead, we get a slick, clever horror-comedy that avoids the pitfalls of being too self-referential for its own good (like Scream 4, and possibly all the other Screams). It's a little uneven at times, and it has moments that resemble the kind of bad horror movie we're all tired of, but The Cabin in the Woods has enough going on in it that you'll have a good time watching it all unfold.


The setup resembles the familiar: five college students, isolated cabin, creepy cellar, supernatural shit gets awakened. But the whole time a parallel story thread runs through the movie in which a mysterious corporation monitors the every move of the people in the cabin, and apparently is running the show, too, in terms of the spooky goings-on.

The movie uses the dumb things about horror movies (characters not staying together, making bad choices like going outside, standing too close to open windows, etc.) as a commentary not just on the genre itself but on the contempt for youth that seems to fascinate the company that's manufacturing this ultra scare-job.

With Chris Hemsworth, Kristen Connolly, Anna Hutchison, Fran Kranz, Jesse Williams, Richard Jenkins, Bradley Whitford, and Amy Acker, and in a surprise cameo, Sigourney Weaver. Everyone in the cast makes a good impression, but when the movie turns "serious," the cabin-dwellers become less interesting. (They're "forced" into it by the company that's trying to get them killed, true, but it's still disappointing to see some interesting, funny characters devolve into boring slasher-film caricatures.) Directed by Drew Goddard.

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