The Cabin in the Woods

Take every horror movie cliche, monster, and motley assortment of stereotypical victims. Throw into a blender. Turn on high. Watch the blender eviscerate all the ingredients into a pure, distilled, genre-bending meta commentary about horror films and horror aficionados. Slowly realize that you, the viewer, are watching the blender within another blender. That’s sort of what watching The Cabin in the Woods is like.

The best way to describe the film is as if it is two movies – one is the cabin horror movie with the five co-eds and the other is audience watching said cabin horror movie with the five co-eds and commenting on it. It’s like a page out of Mystery Science Theatre 3000 except not only are the wise-cracking schlubs critiquing the movie but they’re also part of the movie…if that makes any sense

The good news is that besides all this “movie-within-a-movie-but-it’s-still-the-movie” nonsense I’m spewing is that The Cabin in the Woods is an excellent addition to the horror/comedy genre and well worth a look-see. Five co-eds – the Jock, his Girlfriend, the Stoner, the Nerd, and the Virgin – all travel to a remote cabin for a weekend of debauchery. Along the way, they stop at the creepy gas station (an old standby for the horror genre) and their weekend is anything but the hedonism they were expecting. It’s the typical horror script that we’re all familiar with but the film plays with our familiarity and asks why the horror script is written this way. Why does it have to be five stereotypical teens? Why the warning at the creepy gas station? Why do they have to be slaughtered for our entertainment one by one? Why is the Virgin allowed to survive? These are all the questions that we take for granted while watching a horror movie, and The Cabin in the Woods answers all of them with a deliciously tongue-in-cheek solutions.

That’s about all that needs to be said about the plot of The Cabin in the Woods. The film works on multiple levels – as a straightforward slasher with a twist, as a meta-commentary on the whole horror genre, and as a justification for our love of cinematic bloodshed. After seeing it, you’ll either have a conversation about a) the great gore and special effects b) the arbitrary machinations of the horror plot or c) if Joss Whedon’s and Drew Goddard’s metaphoric explanation for why we need horror is convincing or outrageous. Either way, you’ll have a good time.

Grade: B+

Sidenote: There’s nothing like some Richard Jenkins and snarky Bradley Whitford to really up the entertainment factor.

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