The Cabin in the Woods

The Cabin in the Woods

Starring Chris Hemsworth, Richard Jenkins and Kristen Connolly
Directed by Drew Goddard
Rated R for strong bloody violence and gore, language, drug use and some sexuality/nudity

    Serenity writer/director Joss Whedon and Cloverfield writer Drew Goddard team up for this new take on the “cabin in the woods” genre of horror flicks.  From the very beginning it is more than apparent that this story is more than just a bunch of dumb good-looking kids staying in a cursed cabin.  Rather than let you figure this fact out as a twist, the movie opens with two men working in what looks like a secret government lab who are about to take part in some sort of international competition to kill young people using various monsters.  It starts off almost making you feel like you are watching an darker, more adult version of The Hunger Games.  Lucky for us, these are no normal young people and the game becomes very complicated. 

    If your first thought upon seeing the trailer for this pic is that it looks too scary – never fear.  Just like the M. Night Shyamalan film The Village, this movie might look like a scream-fest from the outside, but what you get on the inside is a very clever and extremely funny pseudo-scarer.  It’s just frightening enough to keep the horror fans happy, but this one surely won’t leave you waking up in the night in a cold sweat.  Instead, its an extremely entertaining thriller that gives you exactly what you would expect from these talented filmmakers. 

    The fact that the film was co-written and directed by one of television’s Lost writers might tell you that you’ll be guessing quite a bit and getting it wrong.  That’s not to say you probably won’t figure it out early enough.  They don’t try to slide something ridiculous by you in order to surprise you. 

    The acting here helps quite a bit.  The very popular Chris Hemsworth (Thor) is a welcome treat to head up the young cast.  What makes the film fun though is Oscar nominee Richard Jenkins and The West Wing’s Bradley Whitford as the two men in ties running the show from elsewhere.  The script, which puts these two in at the most unusual of moments to not only provide comedy relief but also provide a look at the bigger picture, is a sheer pleasure to watch unfold. 

    I think it’s pretty clear to see that this film is one with a gimmick, and that some people will find it silly.  I myself thought the ending was a little whacky.  But as a whole, I found the 95 minute experience to be well worth the ride.  B+