Cabin in the Woods – Movie Review

One of the most anticipated horror films this season, from the gifted and marvelously named Joss Whedon is here.  Intriguing poster arts showing a cabin hanging from ropes in mid-air has nothing to do with the film, and more the pity – it’s an unusual and provocative image. 

A group of college friends embark on a getaway weekend at a cousin’s cabin, a place that’s off GPS, doesn’t get cell service and lacks any communication mod cons.  Its dark, shadowy, the basements is an exploded flea market and what’s this? …  a two way mirror looks from one bedroom into another?

All this should have put the kids on guard right away, the essential overlooked clues, especially after meeting the local gas station attendant who clearly has nothing good on his mind.  D’oh! 

Instead they settle in and start the party in one of the two girls, newly blonde, caps off the frivolities by writhing around and making out with a mounted wolf’s head.  Her beau Chris Hemsworth (Thor to you) leads her out to the woods for a bit of slap and tickle when they’re attacked by zombies.  Pioneer looking zombies.  Apparently a family of crazies who left gruesome diaries and dolls heads in the basement went on to butcher one another.

Zombie attacks pile up and the kids are viciously tortured, one sinks into a hole in the ground, so they decide to make a clean getaway.  I t’s going well until they find themselves at a mountain pass and must drive backwards to outrun a collapse.   One tries to bridge the gap with his motorcycle and … doesn’t make it.  Back to the cabin.  More mayhem, blood and gore.  

Sounds like every other teen slasher films so far, right?   The filmmakers attempt to smash the stereotypes but wind up catering to them; it is so referential that it might as well be the thing it’s trying to satirize.  

There is however, a massive twist as mentioned.  It aims to drag a tired old formula into a new age as wisecracking sleazeballs fulfill their masters’ wishes and it works – for a while.  But when the surprise wears off, then what?  
There is none of Goddard’s Cloverfield risk here.
Total lack of scares, proof that even with Whedon’s nifty add-on, the kids-trapped-in-a-remote place “formula” is no longer workable.  If you’ve seen it once, you’ve seen it for all time.  Even the neatest twist, or a Thor, can’t give something this juiceless juice.

The film is mildly diverting at best and as boring as the same old show on an endless reel at its worst.  The genre’s old and tired, just bury it in the basement and move on.

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35mm horror/sci-fi
Writer Joss Whedon, Drew Goddard
Director Drew Goddard
Opens April 13
Runtime: 106 minutes
MPAA: Rated R for strong bloody horror violence and gore, language, drug use and some sexuality/nudity
Country: USA
Language: English