In the spirit of full disclosure I must admit that as much as I love a Joss Whedon film, I’d pay an outrageous price and tolerate excruciatingly poor cinema just to stare at Chris Hemsworth for an hour and forty five minutes. Not joking. His smile could persuade the angels to sin. I’m happy to report though that the parts of the movie without Chris Hemsworth’s adorable grin were just as good.
The Cabin in the Woods is a fun, campy cross between a horror satire and a genre slasher film. The young virile adults head out for a weekend of fun in the woods and are confronted along the way by every stereotypical horror film element Whedon and Goddard can throw at them. The inbred creep who warns them to stay away, disturbing paintings and choices of interior decoration, objects that trigger the rise of monsters in the night. All the while, the kids are watched and manipulated by a building full of pencil necks who take bets on whether the kids will pick door number one or door number three.
Even the characters follow the standard template. We have “the whore”, (who is not all that randy given modern standards and is apparently pre-med), “the athlete” (drool, drool), “the smart guy, the virgin (not really a virgin, but close enough) and “the idiot stoner” (who bears more than a striking resemblance to Shaggy from Scooby-Doo). The Shaggy guy was actually a bit of an annoyance for me. His incoherent conspiracy and philosophical ramblings, punctuated by an overuse of the word “man” grated on my nerves. I’ll overlook it though since I saw the movie on 4/20. Gotta give stoners a break at least one day of the year.
The scariest part of this whole movie wasn’t the sawed off head, bear trap in the back, meat hook in the neck violence, it was how absolutely immune the pencil necks watching the action had become to grisly death. In one scene, the button down shirts all celebrate and cheerfully discuss their weekend plans while large background screens show the slow, painful, bloody death of one of the characters. No one noticed, and a violent death casually ignored is as morally chilling as it is gruesomely funny. It was as if they were at a party with a somewhat boring movie playing in the background. Oh darn, that’s us, the movie goers, isn’t it? Oooo, gotta love irony!
Loved the movie. Hard core horror fans might be bothered by the interjection of satire. Satire fans might find it too violent. But like Goldilocks, I found it just right.