Bradley Whitford

Genre dissections like The Cabin in the Woods are risky ventures. When filmmakers are clearly intent on both telling a story and offering a self-reflexive statement, there’s a significant chance that one impulse could overwhelm the other. The possible results — an ineffectual drama or a suffocating, pretentious satire — are not pleasant. So it’s fortunate that Cabin director/co-writer Drew Goddard, working closely with producer/fellow writer Joss Whedon, manages the tricky balancing act. His long-awaited horror movie, which has sat on the shelf for more than two years thanks to upheaval at original distributor MGM, is smart and fun, packing unexpected surprises while cleverly recalibrating genre expectations. The film’s about a group of five archetypal college friends — among them the jock figure (Chris Hemsworth), the stoner (Fran Kranz) and the “virgin” (Kristen Connolly) — who head to an isolated cabin for the proverbial weekend getaway. Naturally, something goes terribly wrong while they’re there, but it’s surely not what you think.

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Drew Goddard’s highly anticipated horror film The Cabin in the Woods goes into wide release this weekend, and everyone should make a point to see it. Forget The Hunger Games; this is the cinematic experience of the spring that should drive people to the theaters. By now, you’ve read a lot – possibly too much – about The Cabin in the Woods, and everyone from the director and studio to fans on Twitter are complaining about spoilers flying through the interwebs. In the interest of keeping secrets secret, here are seven spoiler-free reasons to see The Cabin in the Woods this weekend.

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Stop me if you’ve heard this before. Five young, attractive friends take a weekend trip to a remote cabin deep in the woods, but after a night of partying and a dark discovery in the basement they soon find themselves in a fight for their lives against a nightmarish enemy. As well as you think you know this story, you are wrong. Drew Goddard’s The Cabin In the Woods (co-written by Joss Whedon) takes a stereotypical horror film set-up and does extraordinary things with it. It features more than a few jump scares and creepy scenes, a hefty amount of laughs, and a near-brilliant take on a deceptively common storyline. It’s that last part that serves as the core of the film’s greatness, and instead of being just a simple twist or revelation it opens up a whole new way of seeing the genre. Please note, I’ve avoided true spoilers in the review below. That said, there are some elements that may seem spoilery but actually aren’t. If you’ve seen even a single trailer this is a safe read.

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published: 12.23.2014
B+
published: 12.22.2014
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published: 12.19.2014
A-


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