I’m not exactly sure how to review this movie as it kind of defies genre and runs off in its own little way. A collaboration of Joss Whedon and Drew Goddard (who had worked together on Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Angel), Cabin in the Woods is a sort of comedy-horror-scifi-satire thing. From a horror standpoint it’s kind of a classic haunted house concept, but really it’s not like those at all. I don’t know exactly where to draw the line spoiler-wise here, but let’s just say there’s a good reason this haunted house exists and uh, does what it does.
This is a genre movie, I suppose, but it’s kind of Tarantinoan (heh, new word?) in nature in that it both mocks and absolutely loves the genres it’s a part of. It’s mostly horror but also has elements of scifi, straight comedy, and office comedy. From a horror standpoint, it’s more of a gore film than a scary sort of a movie. I was almost never scared, but that’s about the only bad thing I have to say about it. Sometimes the horror dialogue, which was very obviously written to mock how simple a usual horror script is, was maybe a bit TOO like its source material to get full comedic effect. That said, the writing of the sort of office setting was sublime.
Technically the movie was fine. Special effects were good. Gore was, uh, gory. Sound was excellent.
The performances were fine in general. Liked seeing Thor’s Chris Hemsworth in something else, and he delivered. The sort of lead role was played by Kristen Connolly, who I’d never seen before but would be happy to see again. Fran Kranz was almost too stoner for the stoner role, but I think that was a function of script more than it was anything Fran had to do. The best performances, though, came from Richard Jenkins and Bradley Whitford who were excellent as a couple of corporate types. Those were probably the best scenes, and generated the most laughs for me.
This is a short review, I’m sorry, but this movie is content based and I can’t find much to write that isn’t spoilery. If you need a good popcorn movie and can handle a buncha gore this is it. If you’re up for some genre-bending this is it. If you’ve already seen The Hunger Games and think everything else in the theater looks like crap (it probably is), go see this.
3 1/2 Stars