If you say you like horror movies and don't like “The Cabin in the Woods,” you don't like horror movies.
***** out of 5
Rated R for strong bloody horror violence and gore, language, drug use and some sexuality/nudity
Article first published as Movie Review: The Cabin in the Woods on Blogcritics.
“The Cabin in the Woods” has been suffering in release date purgatory, getting bumped from one date to the next over the last three years, setting expectations pretty high. I have a huge split between friends who either absolutely cannot wait to finally see it this weekend, while the other half have no idea that the movie even exists. Originally put into production at MGM, threatened to be converted into 3D, and ultimately shelved when the studio went belly up, Lionsgate has finally stepped up to the plate to bring us the long overdue “The Cabin in the Woods.”
In “The Cabin in the Woods,” a group of college students are hopping into an RV to spend the weekend at the titular locale. We have the jock, Curt (Chris Hemsworth, “Thor”); the dumb blonde, Jules (Anna Hutchison); virginal bookworm, Dana (Kristen Connolly); abs of steel egghead, Holden (Jesse Williams); and paranoid pothead Marty, (Fran Kranz). They’re all on their way to a weekend off the grid at Curt’s cousin’s cabin. Things look pretty creepy and only get worse as they find their way amongst paintings of human sacrifice, two way mirrors, and a diary from 1903. Soon enough, all hell breaks loose for our five friends and things only keep getting worse as they try to fight for survival.
If the look of the film seems reminiscent of Raimi’s own “Evil Dead 2,” it’s no coincidence as Peter Deming was director of photography on that one too. Deming knows how to stage a shot and never relies on the much maligned shaky cam so we always know what’s going on, which is essential for a film that takes place almost exclusively at night. And composer David Julyan also knows a thing or two about keeping the score good and creepy while ratcheting up the tension. Editor Lisa Lassek (another Whedon cronie) keeps every scene in tip top order, but the real star of the show here is Drew Goddard. Most of his offerings have been in the Abrams camp (“Alias” and “Lost”), but he certainly knows what makes a great genre flick tick. With “Cloverfield,” and now “The Cabin in the Woods” under his belt, I can’t wait to see what greatness Goddard delivers for us next, and I can’t wait to see this one again.
Photos courtesy Lionsgate