Parallel to that action, we are taken on a trip through a mysterious, yet oddly banal workplace by Hadley (Bradley Whitford, TV’s “The Good Guys”) and Sitterson (Richard Jenkins, “The Rum Diary”). Despite the matter-of-factness of it all, it rapidly becomes clear that this is no typical workplace. However, what it is they actually do isn’t immediately apparent. There are cryptic hints, but it’s not until the stories come together that we see what’s really going on.
And that’s as much as I can say. Spoilers would damage this film more than most; it’s a really good movie, but detailing the good stuff would definitely result in spoilers. I won’t be that guy.
What I can say is that Whedon has flipped the script in a remarkable way. “The Cabin in the Woods” is the sort of deconstruction of the horror genre that only Whedon could pull off. Wes Craven showed us how powerful a tool genre self-awareness could be with “Scream”; that’s the analogue that comes to mind here, although they are very different movies. It’s that willingness to both exploit and ignore standard horror clichés and conventions that makes “The Cabin in the Woods” a spiritual cousin to Craven’s film.
The young ensemble is solid across the board. Chris Hemsworth is particularly good; he’s clearly doing his damnedest to make sure that we don’t only think of him as Thor. Kranz steals a number of scenes with stoned rants and crackpot theories – he also mines some of the biggest laughs. Whitford and Jenkins are typically excellent, even providing some oddly appropriate workplace humor in the middle of it all.
Apologies for some of the vagueness here. Honestly, “The Cabin in the Woods” is a good movie. It’s well-written and well-acted and it’s a story you haven’t seen before. But the less you know going in, the more you’ll enjoy the film.
A good scare can be fun. But getting scared in a new way can be even better.
5 out of 5