Sunday, April 8, 2012

The Cabin in the Woods review


The Cabin in the Woods manages to throw the horror and comedy genres into a blender, and the result is a delicious product that's ridiculously fun and warrants watching at least once.
The Cabin in the Woods is a modern-day Army of Darkness. High praise, I know, but it's worthy of the title. There's not much I can say about the overall plot without spoiling all of the fun, so I'll keep it to the basics. The Cabin in the Woods follows a group of stereotypical college kids (the stoner, the sports guy, the scantily-clad hot girl, amongst others) that head to a cabin deep in the woods for a weekend getaway. Meanwhile, mysterious figures are keeping a close eye on the group and the chaos and bloodshed follows shortly after their seemingly relaxing vacation begins. 
I know what you're probably thinking. This is all too familiar and there's no reason why you'd want to see this scenario play out for the millionth time. I felt the same way after seeing the trailers and going into this movie, but that assumption is completely false. This isn't just another generic horror flick or something you've already seen before. The concept behind this film is ridiculously far-fetched in a good way and allows for tons of hilarious elements and creatures to be tossed our way. 
The film is being heavily pushed mostly as a horror experience, but it's the sharp writing and witty humor that makes The Cabin in the Woods so superb. It's absurdly funny, and that's something I've come to expect whenever the talented Joss Whedon (Firefly, Buffy the Vampire Slayer) is attached to a project. The director of Marvel's The Avengers co-wrote and produced the flick, and there are plenty of standout comedic scenes that simply feel like a segment slapped with a Joss Whedon seal of approval. A Whedon vibe with banter is almost never a bad thing and there's plenty to be found here. Cloverfield writer Drew Goddard makes his directorial debut and has had an extensive history with Whedon, writing episodes for BuffyAngel and Alias. You can tell the two had a blast working on the script and the final product is one of the most entertaining movies I've seen in awhile.
While The Cabin in the Woods is going to keep you laughing the whole time, odds are no one is going to be having any nightmares over this one. It's not a scary movie, but that clearly wasn't the main focus of the film. I think it's important to note this just in case anyone believes this is a horror-heavy movie based on the trailers portraying it as such. The majority of the horror elements are indeed predictable, but I will confess that one jump scare did get me. At the same rate, keeping the trailers focused on the attempted spooks and not the smirks means you're going into this one without having the best jokes already ruined by the trailers, so that's a plus.
While the main characters are all archetypes, Whedon's ability to craft great banter and develop individuals breathes more life into these characters along the way. The tag team of Richard Jenkins and Bradley Whitford really steal the show. Unfortunately discussing their roles would severely take away from all the fun to be had with their scenes. Fran Kranz (Dollhouse) once again delivers as the goofy and comedic dude, while everyone else performs ably as well.
The final act of The Cabin in the Woods is truly something special. Attempting to describe it won't do it any justice. It's just something that needs to be watched to be fully appreciated. Things take a wild turn and the theater was in a permanent state of laughter and bliss as the events unfolded on the big screen. Oh, and how could I forget to mention the fact that there's a secret cameo thrown in there that sci-fi fans will appreciate as well? 
Simply put, I loved The Cabin in the Woods and had an extremely good time watching it. The CGI is a bit shoddy and it isn't all that scary, but it's hilariously fun and more than deserving of checking out on opening night.

A-

(taken from my review at UGO)

2 comments:

  1. Nice review! I just read a similar thing on Collider ("worth a second watch too") so I think I'll def be checking it out once it releases out here...

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