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In this twisted thriller from Joss Whedon and Drew Goddard, five friends arrive at a secluded cabin with clear instructions for their anticipated mountain getaway. But when the rigid rules are broken, punishment is swift — and everyone will pay. Kristen Connolly, Jesse Williams, Anna Hutchison, Fran Kranz, Chris Hemsworth and Brian J. White star with Richard Jenkins and Bradley Whitford in this surprising spin on a classic horror setup.

“The Cabin in the Woods”

7.5 out of 10

Let me get this out of the way right now. I didn’t think “Cabin in the Woods” was an “insanely entertaining”,  “game changing” or “ground-breaking” horror film. I didn’t find it particularly scary or horrifying. Only the French, British and Spanish are making films like that right now. But being very scary is not what makes “Cabin” tick. It’s all the cliches, machinations and subversive subtext that the film is drenched in that makes it a very fun, if a bit flawed, thriller/comedy.

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The script by Drew Goddard and Joss Whedon (Serenity, The Avengers) is sharp, groovy and full of by the numbers goodness. But what they excel in is the convention that the story occupies. Is it really horror or is it a black comedy that masks bigger horrors defined by all other horror films? Confused? Yeah, I was too, trying to figure out what this film is trying to say or be. In my opinion, it does say alot but sometimes we don’t always get the nod or wink we are looking for. It isn’t a bad thing though. The movie has great tongue in cheek moments and the once in a while nod to Sam Raimi’s ground-breaking “Evil Cabin” movie.

It is hip too. The hippest part being not the cool, college aged co-eds and their shenanigans (There is even a “stoner” dude! How cool is that? Remember what I said about the topsy turvy conventions!) but rather the hippest evil duo since Godzilla and Rodan. Richard Jenkins and Bradley Whitford. Goddard and Whedon pull no punches with these guys. They have the best chemistry I have seen in a horror film in a very long while. They have impeccable timing and play off each other perfectly. They are funny and no joke falls flat between the two. The best thing though is that these two unassuming tie wearing, bureaucratic assholes are causing (with pool-betting abandon) all the horror on our vacationing and hormonal friends (yeah and the stoner dude too. Who, in his defense, figures out what is REALLY going on before anyone else).

Without going into the “twist” there is a method to the madness that is thrust upon the hapless protagonists. It is in how they handle the terrors they have to face. Zombies, dead ghost girls, disfigured ghouls and electrified force fields. Ala “Ghostbusters” we watch as our corporate antagonists handle these creatures (they seem to be in major competition with other countries too) and how they unleash them on the group. After two survive and find out the “secret” is when it gets puzzling. The film shoots like a bat out of hell and plays like a weird concoction that doesn’t really gel since we are let in on the “joke” from the get go. That’s why the last half really doesn’t do it for me though it has it’s moments. I did indeed love the cameo by one of my top bad ass ladies of cinema. Then we get the wrap up where the appropriate parties get their comeuppance and it becomes a Lovecraftian tale of Gods long banished and something something…

Well, I liked it. I didn’t love it. I don’t think it’s this generation’s “Scream”…or for that matter this generation’s anything. It is wicked. It is inventive. Is it scary? Nah. Is the slasher weak? Yup. Is it funny? Yup. Are the characters cliche by horror film conventions? Fuck yeah. But that’s the kicker…in “Cabin in the Woods” things aren’t all they seem. I just wish I didn’t see “it” so soon.

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