Monday, April 16, 2012

The Cabin in The Woods

Five stereotyped friends go for a weekend at a cabin deep in the woods and mayhem ensues. Think you've seen this before? Think again. From the opening moments, you will realize this is not your typical horror film but rather a cross between "The Truman Show" and "Evil Dead". The entire "horror" experience is being controlled by a group of scientists led by Bradley Whitford and Richard Jenkins. And just when you think you know where the film might be headed, it veers of course and surprises you.

Directed by Drew Goddard and written by Mr. Goddard and Joss Whedon, "Cabin" is a fun puzzle of genres that stays true to the source but playfully mixes things up. Mr. Goddard and Mr. Whedon manipulate their audience just as the characters themselves are manipulated. At times, the script is too smart for it's own good. Scattered throughout are sly references to other films (blatantly even a character named Truman).

There is horror (but not that scary) and cast members do die bloody deaths but there is also humor (mostly the witty banter of Mr. Jenkins and Mr. Whitford) and many suspenseful moments. The friends are played by Chris Hemsworth (pre-Thor), Jesse Williams, Kristen Connolly, Anna Hutchison and Fran Kranz. Each one inhabits their stereotype admirably. There is even a surprise guest star who is very appropriate.

I originally wrote it off as just another "kids in the woods bloodbath" but when other critics became so divided about the film, I had to see it for myself. Despite the "aren't we clever moments", and even if you do feel manipulated, you'll still enjoy the ride.

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