Movie Review: ‘Cabin in the Woods’ a trip worth taking

By Will Ashton |
Cabin in the Woods | Directed by Drew Goddard | Rated R

These days, slasher films can’t be what they are anymore.

Sure, they can still be made or rely on the same timing, plot beats, story lines and whatnot. But, quite frankly, after 300 times, it just doesn’t work anymore.

Thankfully, The Cabin in the Woods is not your typical slasher film.

The film, directed and co-written by Drew Goddard, is the type that the less you know, the better. Even the trailers — while they do not give away too much — still give away more than people should know. All that should be said is this: Whatever you think the film may be from the promos, you’re probably wrong. Dead wrong (no pun intended).

The movie is produced, co-written, and directed in the second unit by geek god Joss Whedon. As always, the dialogue and characters are witty and self-aware to the point that it may hurt the film itself. Throughout the first act and some of the second act, characters will say lines that, while usually clever, make them come off as characters nonetheless.

But, in typical Whedon fashion, The Cabin in the Woods keeps in his tradition of genre-bending to the point where life is brought to a genre that makes it both imaginative and fun again. This time, in the one way that it has been doing before and may only be able to — meta-comedy/horror. Much like Scream and last year’s Tucker and Dale vs. Evil, the movie brings a sense of self-awareness and freshness and comes across as clever and lively.

And with that, the film keeps in line with another kind of horror-comedy — the Sam Raimi type. As it particularly brings to mind other cabin films, like Raimi’s Evil Dead and Evil Dead II, the movie brings a nice blend of horror and comedy that, even if one doesn’t work, the other makes the film well worth watching.

Between horror and comedy, Cabin seems to rely mainly on the latter. While not without its pure horror moments, it does seem to lean itself towards comedy, and for that the film does come across as rather uneven.

Moreover, its self-awareness, as refreshing as it can definitely be, comes across as a little strong and smug. Not smug in the sense that it thinks better of itself than its audience, but rather in a way that says, “yeah, we know we’re being clever.” Which, in turn, hurts film more than help at times.

Still though, this movie keeps the fun going, and keeps it going strong. If you’re a horror, gore or dark comedy fan, then the last 25-30 minutes of this film will make you smile from ear to ear well after you leave the theater.

The film, which was shot in 2009 and has been on the shelf since then due to the recent issues that have plagued MGM Studios, still remains fresh and entertaining. Even during its troublesome years getting to theaters, the film has been gaining buzz, and since premiering at SXSW Film Festival, the word of mouth on the film has been extremely positive. While the film may not be the masterpiece “genre-bender” that people have been making it out to be, it still remains a must-see for horror fans and one that will likely be talked about in cult followings for the next few decades.

RATING: 3.5/5


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