By Amanda Ack, Film Critic
The Cabin in the Woods is awesome. There really is no better word to describe it. It takes just about all of the standard horror movie cliches—the ominously remote cabin, the group of unreasonably attractive college kids, the ignored doomsday prophet, et cetera—and turns them completely upside down, always giving us what we expect but never letting us hold on to it for too long.
Unfortunately, it is difficult to describe in detail what makes the film so brilliant. To give away any of its plot would be to give away the very essence of its genius. So, rather than risk divulging too much, I’ll simply say this: this is not the movie you think it is.
You will walk into the theater expecting the same old scream-fest, but you will not get it. What you will get, however, is a piece of pure entertainment. It’s laugh-out-loud funny, delightfully creepy, and utterly baffling all at once, and it never misses a beat.
The acting is uniformly solid. The cast seems to know full well what kind of movie they’re in, but they never use it as an excuse to ham it up. Particularly excellent is Frank Kanz as “Marty,” the token stoner who, ironically enough, happens to be the only character with his head on straight.
Although the actors are certainly skillful, it is the masters on the other side of the camera who deserve most of the credit. Writer/director Drew Goddard and his screenwriting cohort, the inimitable Joss Whedon, very obviously had a good time making this movie, for it shows in every shot – the fun practically jumps off the screen. They’ve deftly crafted a film that is that is self-aware but not self-serious.
Though it may stay a few steps ahead of us at all times, it’s never afraid to turn around and wink.