Five teens who fit the stereotypical roles of a teenage/young-adult horror film decide to take a vacation together in a cabin. A cabin... in the woods. But there's a twist! The government is using these kids for some bizarre experiment, seemingly plotting their supernatural death. Kristen Connolly as Dana Polk, the "virgin", Chris Hemsworth as Curt Vaughan, the athlete, Anna Hutchinson as Jules Louden, the slut, Fran Kranz as Marty Mikalski, the stoner, and Jesse Williams as Holden McCrea, the nerd, all written/produced by the master of nerdcore programming, Buffy The Vampire Slayer's own, Joss Whedon, and his trusty Buffy-sidekick, Drew Goddard.
In the first few minutes of the film, which I'll call the prologue, because I'm referring to what's witnessed before the title screen comes up, I wasn't setting my hopes very high. I had heard nothing but great praise about this film, but it just struck me as too close to all of Joss Whedon's other attempts at comedy. The characters don't feel real and the jokes are just barely grin-worthy. Thankfully, all of that is redeemed as the movie goes on. While the characters at the beginning of the film, Gary Sitterson (Richard Jenkins) and Steve Hadley (Bradley Whitford) fail to capture my interest with their cryptic dialogue, poor humor, and general lack of plot development, they later get touched by Whedon's gift of making three dimensional characters. Of all the strong points of the film, the relatable, original characters in this film really help it shine.
On top of the characters, the story and aesthetic qualities hold up just as much. Joss Whedon took the tired, retreaded, recycled cabin in the woods concept and added twist after twist to really make it original and unique. It was funny, it was scary, and it was super meta. Like... Community, or Tucker and Dale vs. Evil levels of meta, which is right up my ally. Without giving any spoilers away, the ending itself is one of the boldest, funnest, maybe most original endings I've seen to a horror film to date. Other writers could stand to take a lesson from Whedon/Goddard.
I look forward to re-watching this film for some very notable highlights: the force field grid, the one instance of frontal nudity, the big fight scene, and the very closing moment.
I hope everyone gives this film a chance, particularly anyone who enjoys horror films. I give The Cabin In The Woods a total score of...
5 / 5