I have to admit that I was a little leery of editing this review to present to you all. I have been looking forward to Joss Whedon’s Cabin in the Woods for quite some time but have still not been able to go see it. I didn’t want to read through anything that might spoil watching the movie but Trevor has done a first class job of stoking my interest without revealing any sensitive material.
So, yet another review of Cabin in the Woods, but hopefully one that is hopefully spoiler free. It’s almost as big a question as whether the movie’s any good or not. How does one review a movie like this without giving the entire movie away?
You could, I suppose, answer some of the important questions. Is it any good? Yes, Virginia, it is? Will I like it even if I don’t worship at the Temple of Joss Whedon? Well, if you don’t even visit, what’s wrong with you? Allergic to snappy dialog and excellent pacing? Or allergic to co-writer Drew Goddard‘s connection to Cloverfield, the worst shaky hand cam movie of all time? Because both of those things are here in spades. The only two other clues that it’s a Whedon film is that Amy Acker (Angel, Dollhouse) shows up in the first five minutes, along with Fran Kranz from Dollhouse.
So what’s it about? If you haven’t seen the trailer or commercials, I’ll spell it out to you: It has generic horror plot number one of the last thirty years. College kids go to isolated spot in the woods, bad things happen to them. To say any more is to inch ever so closer to spoiler land. But rest assured, you won’t ever be bored, despite the standard plot. In fact, this may be the best thing ever done with this plot line. I don’t think they ever need to do another movie with this plot ever again.
You can say it’s hyperbole, but this is probably the most interesting horror film since Scream. I do not say this lightly, since that was the last mainstream horror film to treat the genre and its tropes with anything resembling respect. If someone asked me what this film is truly about, it’s about the story of College kids getting stuck in the woods, and why that story is important. But again, we veer close to spoiler territory.
So what’s worth watching here, besides the usual Whedon patter? Well, this is yet again another star turn by Bradley Whitford of West Wing . He’s slowly turning into the type of actor that Christopher Walken has turned into, in that you really don’t hire him to play a part, you hire him to show up and be Bradley Whitford. And he does it very well. Also outstanding is Fran Kranz, who is starting down the same path Whitford is, in that he shows up as the same guy every time. But that works for some, It has gotten Walken and people like Robert Mitchum great careers.
What’s bad about this movie? There isn’t really much to complain about. People will be on the fence about a movie as meta aware of itself as this one, as they were about Scream. My only quibbles were about the kid’s resemblance to the Scooby Doo gang (Blond jock, stoner, red haired brain, and brown haired ditz with an odd friend in place of the dog), and the complete non-presence of Chris Hemsworth, of Thor fame. I don’t think anyone in this audience knew who he was, and I had no idea until the credits rolled. He was as much background as the forest in this movie.
In the end, should you go see this? If you’re reading this site, you bet your ass you should. Non-horror fans may not be as enamored of a film that shows a deep and abiding love of the genre, but it’s still an entertaining ride full of blood, beasts and some breasts. Check it out.
I give it five tentacles.
Trevor Curtis, Minion (Reviewer/columnist)