There are certain movies that contain secret plot twists whose reveal is so pivotal to the way the film plays out – The Crying Game and Sixth Sense come to mind immediately – that the only way to avoid spoiling the film is to go into it with virtually no knowledge of what the movie is “about,” save for perhaps the most skeletal of story lines. The Joss Whedon-produced, Drew Goddard-directed horror/comedy The Cabin in The Woods is one such film. As I sat through the closing credits at last night’s press screening (exit music by Nine Inch Nails. Yes!) I was honestly confounded as to how I could “review” this film without ruining the sublime pleasure of navigating its multilayered, non-traditional plot detours. Because, in this case, the less you know about The Cabin in the Woods, the more satisfying your experience of the movie will be.
Sitting on the shelves at MGM for three years, Cabin’s release is perfectly timed to advance the hype of Whedon’s upcoming blockbuster-to-be, The Avengers, while also, purely by coincidence, having something in common with current box office smash The Hunger Games – and that can’t be bad for business.
The basic plot launches from a weekend trip taken by five college student friends to a remote Cabin, ostensibly owned by one character’s cousin: a trip, of course, during which everything goes horribly, irreversibly wrong. These five kids embody every teen-slasher-flick-character cliché: there’s the Jock, the Slut, the Studious Girl, the Stoner Nerd who provides comic relief and the Nice Guy.
From the film’s kick off, a parallel storyline involving a high tech company whose employees appear to know much more about the Cabin in The Woods than the five teens immediately takes the film to a level beyond the mundane and predictable. As the two main technicians, veteran actors Richard Jenkins (Six Feet Under) and Bradley Whitford (The West Wing) deliver some of the film’s best lines of sharp, comedic dialog and continuously break or heighten the tension as they manipulate the kids into behaving in ways that will lead them into further danger.
And. . . that’s all I’m going say about it, because, really, what comes next, and then next after that, is just too good to give away. Two horror stories that came to mind while watching Cabin include the film Thirteen Ghosts and Clive Barker’s original-novel version of Midnight Meat Train. If those comparisons pique your interest, The Cabin in The Woods is your wet dream of a horror film. I never go to see movies like this, and I really loved it.
Opening Nationwide on Friday, April 13th, The Worley Gig Gives The Cabin in the Woods Four out of Five Stars!