SPOILERS: This review contains spoilers. If you plan to see this movie (and you should) you should Not read past The Gist: it’s up to you.
The Gist: Five college friends head out on a weekend getaway at a, you guessed it, Cabin in the Woods. Things start to get strange as the night of partying progresses and mysteries are revealed.
Puppets & Puppeteers: Chris Hemsworth (only one brief shirtless scene), Kristen Connolly, Anna Hutchison, Fran Kranz, Jesse Williams, Richard Jenkins, Bradley Whitford, Amy Acker. Written by Drew Goddard (Cloverfield) and Joss Whedon (Buffy, The Avengers, Firefly and more).
The Flick: (Contains Spoilers!): The movie begins in a lab like facility with cryptic talk about the upcoming night. Bradley Whitford, Richard Jenkins and Amy Acker are the techs preparing for the festivities and dropping hints about Sweden failing and that the USA and Japan are the only two countries with a chance to succeed. At what? Wait for it…
The audience is then introduced to the aforementioned college kids gearing up for the trip – Chris Hemsworth, the brainy football player; Kristen Connolly, the survivor girl (points to anyone who knows where that reference is from); Anna Hutchison, the jock’s kind of slutty girlfriend; Jesse Williams, the blind date for the survivor girl and Fran Kranz, the stoner. Notice the genre favourites in terms of stereotypical characters.
When the movie turns to the group of kids, the viewer is watching a typical slasher/monster/supernatural movie; from the main characters to the dilapidated gas station with the creepy, god fearing back woods owner, this movie looks like many that have preceded it. This is the lie that is not so thinly veiled as the movie jumps between the woods and the underground lab with the techs watching and manipulating the kids into behaving in ways they normally wouldn’t. For example, making out with a stuffed wolf head, splitting up when they know they should stay in a group. The techs are using chemicals to alter their personalities and special effects to keep the scenes unfolding just like a horror movie. When the flick flips back to the lab, there are more cryptic comments about why they are using these people and plenty of humour thrown in. The betting pool about what kind of monsters are going to be released is cold-hearted and fun; the group of male techs waiting for the slutty girl to take her shirt off is funny as they are disappointed. It’s this balance between the cold reality of what they are doing (manipulating for the purpose of killing) and humour that makes the flick work.
The summoning of the zombies confused me at first as I didn’t know if they were supposed to be actors for what I thought was an experiment or if they were real zombies. They were indeed the real deal and not just the zombies, every other creature and monster imaginable are shown near the end like animals in captivity. And the end? Well, it truly is the end. The manipulation, the sacrifices, it is all to appease the giant ancient Gods that once roamed the earth. If there are not 5 sacrifices (the whore, the athlete, the scholar, the fool and the virgin) then the ancient ones will rise and destroy humanity. What the hell? Yep, it wasn’t some sadistic experiment; it was human sacrifice for the greater good. Not at all what I expected.
Critique: Not really, no. I have no criticisms or complaints about this one.
Yah or Nah: Clearly Yah. I loved this flick. It was fun and entertaining and unexpected. After seeing the trailers, I thought that the movie was somewhat ruined and would not have anything unexpected but I was luckily wrong. The characters were what they were supposed to be and the monsters were unanticipated but it was cool how they were worked into the story. Humour, horror and Thor. See this movie!