Published Apr 13, 2012Do yourself a favour: don't learn anything else about the plot and just go see The Cabin in the Woods the first chance you get. I wouldn't even recommend watching the trailers, though they only scratch the surface of what smart, hilarious and horrifying surprises director/co-writer Drew Goddard (Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Lost) and producer/co-writer Joss Whedon (Angel, Firefly, the geek crack that will be The Avengers) have in store for viewers.
Frankly, I'm shocked a script this genuinely clever and caustic made it to the screen intact. All you need to know of the story is that, on its most basic level, it's a subversion of the horror trope of a bunch of college kids being terrorized during a cottage getaway gone bloody, only these are university students and none of them are idiots.
The group include paranoid conspiracy theorist and prodigious stoner Marty (Fran Kranz, Dollhouse), a jock with the brain meat to match his physique, Curt (a pre-Thor Chris Hemsworth), chaste-ish good girl Dana (Kristen Connelly), her more sexually liberated best friend, Jules (Anna Hutchinson), and intelligent, respectful, tentative romance bait Holden (Jesse Williams).
From start to finish, there are very specific reasons for every element of the story and production. The editing, title font, set designs, props, character motivations, pacing ― all are deliberately constructed to contribute to a narrative that keeps opening up like an inverted Matryoshka doll to reveal progressively bigger ideas that dress down every notion we've come to expect from the horror genre.
The only minor issue that might arise for the cynical horror buffs attracted to this movie is that the moments of visceral terror, while very nasty, won't phase the highly desensitized. But that's just another part of the many smart points the film addresses about the consumption of entertainment.
Equal parts witty, zany and thrilling, this surprisingly misanthropic tale could only have come from the minds of Whedon and Goddard, but even those familiar with the duo's work will be stunned and delighted by how far this project goes, being the first time either has been given carte blanche with an R rating.
The Cabin in the Woods throws down a satirical gauntlet that challenges the very notion of terror in film and how it can be intertwined with humour. I've said too much ― just go buy a ticket to the best-written and executed horror comedy ever made. (Alliance)