Wow. I mean, seriously, WOW. The Cabin in the Woods is unlike any horror film you will ever see, bending not only the horror genre on its totally whacked ear but twisting all kinds of other cinematic techniques as well. From the minds of Joss Whedon and Drew Goddard, it is truly one of the most inventive and ingenious movies to come around in a long time.

The Players:

The Plot:

From the title, The Cabin in the Woods sounds like the typical horror flick, in which reckless college 20-somethings isolate themselves and get hacked to pieces by something unspeakable. Partly, this is true. But then The Cabin in the Woods quickly veers off the bloody path to uncover a master plot involving two men in a control room, pulling the strings. It also includes rituals, lots of gore and all other manner of horrific weirdness. You won’t believe some of the sheer craziness that happens in this movie.

The Good:

  • The pitch: Think Friday the 13th zombies meets The Hunger Games with a little bit of Wrath of the Titans mixed in for good measure. I kid you not – and yet, it all does make sense, if not completely and wonderfully farfetched.
  • The kids: Five relatively unknown actors (Chris Hemsworth, Kristen Connolly, Jesse Williams, Anna Hutchinson and Fran Kranz) signed on to make this fun tailspin of a movie, but because of the release delay, Hemsworth went on to play Thor and is now entirely recognizable. No matter. These actors take their jobs as hapless victims with a grain of salt, mixing in their own quirky sensibilities, especially Connolly and standout Kranz.
  • Bradley Whitford and Richard Jenkins: These two excellent character actors are the master puppeteers in this mad game of who slashes who. They are also just two work colleagues, talking football and barbeques on their coffee break. They represent the heart and soul of The Cabin in the Woods – and its comic relief.
  • A well-placed cameo by Sigourney Weaver: Enough said.
  • Sheer genius: The credit for The Cabin in the Woodsbrilliance lies solely with its creators. Whedon (Buffy the Vampire Slayer; Firefly) understands how to take something formulaic and turn it into fascinating entertainment, while Goddard worked with Whedon on Buffy and went on to write for Alias and Lost, as well as penning the J.J. Abrams thriller Cloverfield. It’s clear these two guys have been dreaming up this wacky stuff for years. With The Cabin in the Woods, they have seemingly tapped into the recess of their incredibly vivid imaginations with aplomb. Ah, to be a fly on the wall when they came up with this plot.

The Bad:

  • The release date: The film was shot in 2009 but is now just being released. Why? Apparently, the studio wanted to turn it into a 3D flick, but Whedon and Goddard balked. They won that battle, thankfully, but it must have taken some time to convince the bonehead powers that be. That’s it, though. I can’t think of anything else negative about it.

Overall:

The less you know about this movie, the better off you’ll be because you really must experience The Cabin in the Woods firsthand. Oh, you might lose some sleep but not because you’re scared, per se; it will simply mess with your head.

Rating: 9.5/10

The Cabin in the Woods opens April 13. Run to see if, if you dare.

Photos:

Trailer: