cabin in the woodsLionsgate

“Cleanse them.  Cleanse the world of their ignorance and sin.  Bathe them in the crimson of…am I on speakerphone?”

A rambunctious group of five college friends steal away for a weekend of debauchery in an isolated country cabin, only to be attacked by horrific supernatural creatures in a night of endless terror and bloodshed. Sound familiar? Just wait. As the teens begin to exhibit standard horror movie behavior, a group of technicians in a control room are scrutinizing, and sometimes even controlling, every move the terrified kids make! With their efforts continually thwarted by the all powerful eye in the sky, do they have any chance of escape?

There are times when a movie is, instead of being released, is placed upon the shelf for one reason or another, delaying the release for months, or even years.  Usually the reason is the studio felt the resulting movie wasn’t up to their standards, or something like that. In the case of the Joss Whedon scripted and produced Cabin In The Woods, the reason it was shelved in 2009 had to do with MGM’s bankruptcy and – I can assume – nothing to do with the quality of the film itself.  Because, after being released finally, I can attest to the fact that Cabin In The Woods is perhaps one of the top 5 horror movie I’ve seen this decade.  Strong and brave words considering it’s only 2012, I know, but I stand by this proclamation.

Within the first five minutes, you can tell that The Cabin In The Woods is a Joss Whedon joint.  That he brought in his long-time Buffy and Angel collaborator Drew Goddard (who also was producer on the series Lost, you may have heard of it) as both co-writer and director only helped to make this movie much more awesome than it should have been.  And with some other, less-than-worthy director and/or writer, this movie would have been just another exercise in stupid, exploitative teen horror I’ve seen again and again and again.

Really, from the general description above, I would understand if that’s all you thought this movie was going to be.  If you’re not even remotely familiar with the works of Joss Whedon, or even his now-classic series Buffy The Vampire Slayer, Angel and Firefly, yeah, I can see how you would think “Another teen slasher set in the woods flick”.  And yes, that’s what Cabin In The Woods is.  On the superficial surface.  But, true to Whedon’s style of having to deconstruct pretty much everything he gets his hands on (and at the same time, lovingly crafting a tribute to it), this movie goes beyond being just another slasher flick with pretty white kids and explores the genre’s themes in very creative and existential ways.  Without giving much away (as I wish for you to watch this movie yourselves, kiddies), let’s just say there’s more to this madness than meets the eyes.  Or the entrails.

The actors are all top-notch, and it’s notable that the future Thor – Chris Hemsworth – stars, making the delay of its release rather fortuitous really, as it helped buffer things when he became Mr. Instant Superstar with the release of The Avengers.  The script is very smart (I loved the subtle little jab at Asian Horror tropes at one point), the effects fantastic, the dialog superb, and there’s one particular cameo that made me geek all over the place.  Really, about the only negative I can say about Cabin In The Woods is that it seemed to suddenly explode all over the place, literally and figuratively, which seemed to be a bit much.  But, overall, my inner horror geek was greatly satisfied after watching Cabin In The Woods, and would gladly recommend anyone to check this out, and maybe even buy a copy on DVD, as I shall.  I’m a sucker for commentary tracks and stuff.