At the Movies: The Cabin in the Woods

Lotta movies opening this weekend. Did not see “The Three Stooges.” Never a big Stooges guy, I prefer the more sophisticated humor of the Marx Brothers. Plus the screening didn’t work with my schedule.

“The Raid: Redemption” has been getting raves as a horribly violent action flick, which sounds like something I would love but again timing didn’t work out. I would’ve gone to the sci-fi thriller “Lockout” but it wasn’t screened at all. I don’t remember what excuse I had for missing “Bully,” but friend and former West Podian Sandi wrote a review online so I’ll just link it here: http://sojo.net/blogs/2012/03/29/parents-take-your-children-see-bully

So what did finally get me to get off the couch and drive across town and spend a couple hours in a darkened theater? A horror-comedy, if you can believe it.

I’m not a big fan of horror movies and I don’t find most comedies amusing, so I’m pleasantly surprised to report that “Cabin in the Woods” was a ridiculously fun film.

I suppose I shouldn’t be too surprised because I’m a Joss Whedon fan (but not one of those crazy Joss Whedon fans that worship him and everything he does — I was disappointed in “Dollhouse” and the last season of “Buffy the Vampire Slayer.”) and this thing has his fingerprints all over it.

Whedon is the film’s producer and he co-wrote the script with its director, Drew Goddard. This is Goddard’s directorial debut but he’s worked with Whedon as a screenwriter on “Buffy” and “Angel.” The movie is very similar in feel and tone with those two shows.

So far I’ve managed to kill 251 words without telling you what this movie’s about and there’s a reason for that. I don’t want to tell you what this movie’s about. “Cabin in the Woods” is the kind of movie where it’s best if you go in not knowing very much about it.

Suffice it to say that it’s your standard horror movie setup: Jock (Chris Hemsworth), blonde bimbo (Anna Hutchison), comic relief (Fran Kranz), smart guy (Jesse Williams) and the cute-but-innocent heroine (Kristen Connolly) drive out to a secluded cabin in the woods for a weekend of fun which turns into a night of terror. The rest you must learn on your own.

“The Cabin in the Woods” makes fun of horror conventions while at the same time trying to make sense of them. If you’ve ever wondered why young people do the stupid things they do in horror movies, the answer is here.

If you’re wondering why Chris Hemsworth looks younger here than in last year’s “Thor,” the answer is that this movie was made first. “Cabin” had been sitting on a shelf since 2009 due to bankruptcy problems with the studio that made the film.

Thankfully, it’s finally clawed its way into theaters. “The Cabin in the Woods” is witty, gory, creepy and sometimes scary. I’m not a big fan of the words “must see,” but if you’re a fan of Joss Whedon’s work then you will want to see this.

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One response to “At the Movies: The Cabin in the Woods

  1. I always have a hard time with horror/comedies. I love Joss Whedon (Firefly mainly). I agree Dollhouse was let down. Wanted to love it but didn’t.. I think the main problem with Dollhouse is you could never get attached to the main character because she changed every week… Topher and the Doctor from Dollhouse are both in the The Cabin in the Woods. I like the Doctor but think Topher borders on Jerry Lewis occasionally… Overall, I found The Cabin in the Woods was interesting because it was different but I kept feeling like it was an episode of The Outer Limits….

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