'Cabin' is frightfully clever
By Christy Lemire, Associated Press
May 4, 2012, 7:15 pm TWN
Stop reading this review right now.
Go see "The Cabin in the Woods," then come back and we can have a conversation about it. Just trust me on this. The less you know going into it, the better.
We can say this much: The hype is justified. And that's saying something when we're talking about geek god Joss Whedon, who produced and co-wrote the script with director Drew Goddard, a veteran of such revered TV shows as "Lost" and Whedon's own "Buffy the Vampire Slayer." Goddard makes his directing debut with this long-awaited film (he also previously wrote "Cloverfield") but he keeps all the moving parts humming along with thrilling fluidity and ease.
So yes, "The Cabin in the Woods" is as good as you've heard, or at least as good as you've hoped it would be, because it walks a very difficult line and manages to find the right tone pretty much the entire time.
Anyone can try to be subversive. Anyone can spoof and parody and wink at the camera in making fun of a specific genre, especially one like horror in which the conventions are so deeply ingrained and staying a couple steps ahead of the characters is part of the fun. But the trick is to avoid going overboard and to play it somewhat straight.
The "Scream" movies in the 1990s were super-meta and cutesy and knowing, with characters who were all-too aware of the rules of a horror movie and their roles within that structure. "The Cabin in the Woods" affectionately toys with the familiarity of certain types and plot points but it also dares to take a step back and examine why we need to return to these sorts of films, why we love to laugh and jump, why we hunger for carnage and thirst for blood.