The horror genre gets a reboot with “The Cabin in the Woods,” a hip tongue-in-cheek salute to the kind of movie that’s been supplanted in recent years by torture porn.
Drew Goddard and Joss Whedon co-wrote this intelligent and funny screenplay about five young people who spend the weekend at a remote cabin, under surveillance by a quasi-official government agency. Every room bugged. Hidden cameras everywhere and something is definitely afoot.
Each of the cabin dwellers fits a horror movie archetype. And, the monitors are manipulating them into a random act that will lead to a specific result.
That’s about as far as I want to go with plot points, because this is the type of film that be left mostly to the viewer. If you know too much, that will literally ruin it for you.
The monitors include Gary Sitterson (Richard Jenkins) and Steve Hadley (Bradley Whitford). Their jaded attitudes over what’s happening are as disturbing as they are funny.
The young people include the scholar (Jesse Williams), the whore (Anna Hutchison), the athlete (Chris Hemsworth), the virgin (Kristen Connolly) and the fool (Fran Kranz). All live up to their highest expectations, but the emotional center of the group has to Kranz’ character. He’s a paranoid stoner with all the great one-liners and you can’t help but like him.
What’s not to like? Horror fans with a brain will dig the clever script. The gore is there along with a true sense of concern for the victims. If only all horror films could be like “The Cabin in the Woods.” Grade: A-