Fast-paced, gory, and with a razor-sharp sense of humor, “The Cabin in the Woods” borrows elements from older horror films and twists them around, making them its own. Never since “Tucker & Dale Vs. Evil” have I seen such originality and creative scriptwriting in a modern horror-comedy.
“The Cabin in the Woods” is truly a marvel to watch, and stands as an excellent addition to co-writer Joss Whedon’s repertoire. The plot starts out “typical” and soon reveals itself to be a lot murkier (and more awesome) than it initially seemed.
Five friends- innocent Dana (Kristen Connolly), “cool dude” Curt (Chris Hemsworth), slutty Jules (Anna Hutchinson), amusing pothead Marty (Fran Kranz), and sensitive guy Holden (Jesse Williams) go off on a trip to a cabin in the woods. Marty quickly establishes himself as my favorite, with his pseudo-profound pot-addled ramblings and surprising perceptiveness.
But wait! Something is amiss! As the gang break the various rules of horror-film etiquette (Don’t have sex. Don’t go in the basement. Don’t wander off…) they find themselves fighting for their lives. But it gradually becomes clear that a lot more then the lives of a couple of college kids may be at stake.
Naturally, the pothead gets all the best lines from the very beginning, Marty establishes himself as a humorously addled and continuously likable presence, even if half the time you don’t know what the hell he’s talking about. The acting is good, not extraordinary but decent, particularly for this kind of movie.
One of my favorite character actors, Richard Jenkins, is here as an ethically dodgy and somewhat dirty old man. The script is funny, cool, and sometimes willfully ludicrous, as characters get bear traps in the back and somehow get up with little to no permanent injuries.
“The Cabin in the Woods” is definitely worth a watch to anyone who wants to see a new twist on an old story. You actually root for these kids to live, which is a rare occurrence in a dead-teenager movie. The script is often funny, sometimes hysterical, and worth a go for the killer-unicorn sequence alone. My professional opinion? Watch it, and don’t take it too seriously.