Of the many deplorable plot lines in today’s slasher films, none is more dubious than the “Drunken teens go on vacation to a remote cabin and suffer immeasurably at the hands of a psycho” arc. There’s always something totally unbelievable in watching this kind of fare, and I’ve smartly stayed away from many of them. If that’s your fancy, I appreciate your patience at watching the sexually available blonde getting whacked, followed by her boyfriend the jock, leaving only the intelligent people to plot their escape, usually culminating in either psychosis, death, or the ugly choice of who dies next.
However, the twists promised in THE CABIN IN THE WOODS were said to be so inventive that my attendance at a recent screening was necessary. So, does it deliver the goods, or confirm my fear that this entire genre needs a reboot?
The answer is mixed. While there is a pretty interesting plot twist that I won’t divulge, I can say it is big enough to turn the genre on its ear. And, at many times, this Joss Whedon (Avengers) and Drew Goddard (Alias) written affair has the feel of a Quentin-Tarantino-From-Dusk-Till-Dawn film. It loves the fact that it’s campy and comedic, gruesome and uncomfortable, and it pulls out almost every tired cliché for the sake of comedy. The problem is that many of its jokes fall flat, leaving the audience to wonder if they were ever funny. The other problem is that most slasher films don’t require much concentration to watch, but Cabin demands it.
That might not appeal to some ticket goers who prefer mindless violence and sex to a story about…well; I can’t really tell you about that. The film sat in the can for three years before it could find a distributor - I can see why. Chris Hemsworth (Thor), Bradley Whitford (The West Wing), and a few ex-actors from Dollhouse are passable here and the story does have a very final ending that’s unexpected. In that regard, The Cabin in the Woods does redefine the genre, but not enough to save it.
THE CABIN IN THE WOODS is rated R for nudity, sex, violence, language, drugs, and anything else you can think of, and runs 95 minutes.
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