Sunday, April 15, 2012
The Evil Dead Rise in The Cabin in the Woods
Do you really want to pay money to see this story played out again? We all know where this is headed (or beheaded). The answer to that question is yes...but I can't really tell you why. It's nearly impossible to tackle a review on The Cabin in the Woods without spoiling some of the best parts. I will say this: the film is surprising and breaks out into a no-holds barred blood bath of epic proportions, and even if some of the plot points are too over-the-top and some of the humor misses its mark, The Cabin in the Woods is an enjoyable 90 minutes at the theater, with enough spurting blood to satisfy any gore-hound.
Though the group stops at a decrepit gas station and meets the toothless, tobacco-spitting local who owns it, and the cabin looks no different than most any other cabin-horror movie, once the group finds out what is exactly in the cellar, all hell breaks loose. The film sounds quite similar to Eli Roth's Cabin Fever, which I love unconditionally. But the director and writer of The Cabin in the Woods, Drew Goddard and Joss Whedon (who created the television version of Buffy the Vampire Slayer and is directing next month's hugely-hyped The Avengers), have crafted an entirely new experience, an Evil Deadish film full of meta winks and nods.
Clearly, this cabin in the woods is much different than any other portrayed in the horror genre. Nothing is really what it seems, and most everything is intentional. If you've seen the previews for The Cabin in the Woods, it's clear that there are members of the cast other than the five unfortunate souls who enter the cabin. Six Feet Under's Richard Jenkins and Billy Madison's Bradley Whitford play scientists who are trying to craft a successful experiment involving the attractive twenty-somethings. This may seem a bit too spoilerific, but the first scene in the film involves these two characters. They add much of the humor and horror-genre self-referential wit to the proceedings.
The Cabin in the Woods is like a puzzle that is generally enjoyable but occasionally frustrating. It's reminiscent of many movies: the aforementioned Cabin Fever and The Evil Dead, Cube, and even the recent Hunger Games adaptation. But it fully makes the story its own. What's key is going into the film knowing as little information about it as possible. You might be thinking: Why tell me this now, after reading all of this review? But the information I have told doesn't come close to delving into any of the surprises of the movie. Ultimately, The Cabin in the Woods isn't even about scaring or surprising, as much as it seems to be. It's about taking a trusted story and flipping it on its head, winking to the audience the entire way. (B)