There’s a good indicator movie audiences have learned to look at by now when it comes to going to the multiplex to spend their hard-earned dollars: that is, if a movie has been sitting on a studio’s shelf awaiting a release date at last, you bestest do yourself a favor and skip it.
Well, it’s a cool thing rules are meant to be broken because opening today is The Cabin in the Woods, a comedic horror thriller produced and co-written by Joss Whedon, the mastermind behind the beloved TV cult hit Buffy the Vampire Slayer. And Angel. And Firefly and Serenity. And Dollhouse. And Dr. Horrible's Sing-Along Blog. Oh, and the story for the first Toy Story. And the upcoming Avengers movie, which he helmed for Marvel.
Shall I go on?
Anyway, the movie is insane and totally not what I expected it to be when I saw its trailer last December. Back then, I thought the powers that be had pretty much given up on Drew Goddard’s directorial debut (he’s the guy who wrote Cloverfield, btw) and given away the plot in that first full preview.
I figured they’d like, stopped hoping they’d ever see their movie open in theaters everywhere since like, it has now been two years since the darn thing was supposed to come out (the original studio, MGM, ran into financial problems, you see).
But, here The Cabin in the Woods is, ready to welcome those looking for a good ol’, debunkingly smart take on the horror genre – and in seeing Chris Hemsworth looking all taut and shirtless and s--- (the actor worked on this movie way before he was even chose to play Thor, btw).
Now, I can’t and won’t say anything else about what happens in the movie because, really, everything is sooo closely knit that to say something about one thing would give away something else about another. And, honestly, I’m not just saying that because I’m being a lazy cow and trying to push this out. I know Richard Jenkins, the Oscar-nominated actor who plays a pivotal part in the plot, wouldn’t like me to. And I don’t wanna be a Rex Reed (GTS, guys.)
This much I can say: The movie chronicles the very bad things that happen after five friends – including Kristen Connolly, Hemsworth, Dollhouse alumnus Fran Kranz, and Jesse Williams (TV’s Grey’s Anatomy), get to there.
And you will never guess just what or who’s making it all go down or why. Because whatever you think is actually happening, well...isn’t.
Shucks – that was a mild spoiler.
Just know that is why Whedon is such a god to some of us. He has a talent for setting something up in a way that is super-creative and totally not didactic. He and Goddard have created a story that moves briskly, and a mythology that is intriguing and should leave you wanting more. Sure, The Cabin in the Woods flirts rather heavily with the ridikolous when it comes to the climax, but, by golly, is it a well-earned prerogative.
If you want to have a silly time complete with genuine frights and laughs, then this one is the one that you want. And trust me - you wanna.
My Rating ***1/2
Photo: Lionsgate Films.