The Cabin in the Woods to be a dreary slice of torture porn. With producer Joss Whedon of Buffy the Vampire Slayer fame co-writing the film with director Drew Goddard, however, you should definitely expect the unexpected.
Sure, Thor’s Chris Hemsworth and a generically beautiful cast of twenty-somethings head out to a cabin straight out of The Evil Dead, passing a hillbilly gas station where the disgusting owner warns them of impending death, but something strange is going on: everything they do and everyone they encounter, dead or alive, are being master-controlled at some dull-looking government bunker by a bunch of techno-nerds. Bradley Whitford and Richard Jenkins dispassionately press buttons that sick undead hillbilly cannibal zombies on the unsuspecting campers, while betting on who will make it out alive. It’s like The Hunger Games with monsters.
Combining Scream-like self-awareness and humor with a gonzo anything-goes attitude, The Cabin in the Woods almost succeeds in creating a new horror classic. To say that all hell breaks loose at end is an understatement. A sublime surprise cameo caps the movie off in perfectly bizarre fashion, and although The Cabin in the Woods loses a little narrative steam at the end, you will enjoy going on this end-of-the-world joyride.
Review by Neil Cohen, resident film critic of Movie Dearest and Phoenix's Echo Magazine.