The Cabin in the Woods

Movies , Horror
  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • 4 out of 5 stars
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The Cabin in the Woods

Charmingly, like a throwback to the pre-Twitter age, here’s a horror film that’s been made with no reasonable way to discuss it beforehand. (You know the boat sinks in Titanic, but these surprise-laden plot twists are another matter entirely.) We’ll do what we can: A fairly generic group of collegians—including shy, thoughtful Dana (Kristen Connolly), hunky Curt (Thor’s Chris Hemsworth) and perpetually stoned Marty (Fran Kranz)—head out to a rural retreat for the usual naughtiness. Meanwhile, and this is all info we learn at the start, a severe-looking group of lab technicians (including one recent Oscar nominee) get busy behind a NASA lab’s worth of consoles.

And that’s about it, folks. Coscripted by Buffy’s clever cat Joss Whedon, The Cabin in the Woods may offer a gauntlet to critics, but it works thrillingly for audiences, especially the pointy-headed kind who have been trained to predict the outcomes of every week’s slasher. Maybe that’s all that matters. Still, there’s a danger in overselling (through obliqueness) what is essentially a pendulum swing back to the sarcastic vein of Scream, and away from the past decade’s explicit—and perhaps more socially revealing—torture porn. That will be a relief for many, yet Drew Goddard’s directorial debut has its weaknesses, including an aggressive smarty-pants vibe that sometimes gets in the way of the scares. The trade-off is a movie that’s akin to looking under the hood of a Stephen King novel: It’s a joy for mechanics. And aren’t we all those, these days?

Follow Joshua Rothkopf on Twitter: @joshrothkopf

Release details

Rated: R
Release date: Friday April 13 2012
Duration: 95 mins

Cast and crew

Director: Drew Goddard
Screenwriter: Joss Whedon, Drew Goddard
Cast: Chris Hemsworth
Richard Jenkins
Bradley Whitford

Average User Rating

4 / 5

Rating Breakdown

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TIM P

I know...this movie looks ridiculous, and in many ways it is.  But its the best kind of ridiculous.  This movie manages to simultaneously poke fun at and fully embrace all the best archetypes from classic Horror movies through a clever and original twist I certainly did not see coming.  And the ending was kinda awesome.  Watch it!