Review: 'Cabin in the Woods'

By: Heather Seebach

Far too many unfortunate films have sat idle in Hollywood purgatory awaiting distribution. One such film was Drew Goddard's debut directorial effort, Cabin in the Woods. Despite its high-profile co-writer/producer, Joss Whedon, the film was in limbo for three years before star Chris Hemsworth appeared in a little film called Thor and things started looking up. Much to the delight of horror lovers everywhere, Cabin is finally hitting theaters Friday, April 13th. Soon, said horror fans' heads will collectively explode when they see what they have been missing these last three years.

The less you know about Cabin in the Woods going in, the better. Hence the fairly vague nature of the following review. The film follows five college students' weekend retreat to an old isolated cabin. Comprising the group: an innocent virgin, a jock, a slut, a stoner, and an egghead. Sound familiar? It should. The story is set up exactly like your average slasher film before every cliché you know is cleverly turned on its head. Without giving away too much, the young protagonists are being watched for reasons that will keep you guessing until the very end.

Goddard and Whedon have constructed an incredibly smart satire of the horror genre already on par with contemporary cult classics like Shaun of the Dead and Behind the Mask: The Rise of Leslie Vernon. Each and every archetype of the genre is dissected and lampooned while still being treated with the utmost endearment. Clearly written by horror fans and for horror fans, Cabin squeezes in countless horror film references that will keep eagle-eyed fans endlessly amused. The Evil Dead is probably the most obvious and repeated reference, naturally.  

In addition to all the fan service, the screenplay is just so damn unique and clever. It has all the humor and excitement we have come to expect from Whedon, who is already a nerd demi-god for Firefly, Buffy, etc. Meanwhile, Goddard delivers on the mind-melting, genre-bending concepts he gave us on Lost (and to a lesser extent, Cloverfield). The script goes so much further than you expect, keeping you constantly surprised (in a good way).

Hemsworth and the other young actors are very good, though Richard Jenkins and Bradley Whitford really steal the show. The film is loads of fun and incredibly funny. It is sure to please even non-horror fans. For those of you looking for blood and brutality, however, look no further. This film pulls no punches, delivering plenty of good kills and gore (most of which is practical FX). True horror fans may need a change of underwear before the film is over, though. There are parts of this film that are a horror geek's wet dream. Seriously.

Any moviegoer looking for a fun time should check out Cabin in the Woods. For any horror fan, however, it is a must see. No exceptions! If you like to be thrilled, chilled, and laugh your ass off, get to the movies on Friday the 13th! See the film before your jerk friends spoil it for you! And chances are, you will want to see it again and again, if only to look for all the references you might have missed. Remember when your mom told you good things come to those who wait? Well, after three senseless years, the proof is finally here.

out of 5

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