Sunday, April 15, 2012

Film Review: The Cabin in the Woods (2012)

The Cabin in the Woods (2012)

Rated: R
Running Time: 95 min
Genre: Horror | Thriller

Tomato Meter: 92%

Cast overview, first billed only:
Kristen Connolly as Dana (Virginal Hottie!)
Chris Hemsworth as Curt (Our Hero!)
Anna Hutchison as Jules (Our Hottie!)
Fran Kranz as Marty (Our Other Other Hero or Something!)
Jesse Williams as Holden (Our Other Hero!)
Richard Jenkins as Sitterson (Mad Scientist Number One)
Bradley Whitford as Hadley (Mad Scientist Number Two)
Brian White as Truman (Resident Hunchback)
Amy Acker as Lin (Another Bad Person)
Tim De Zarn as Mordecai (Frightening)
Tom Lenk as Ronald The Intern (Our Intern!  Whom no one will miss when he dies.)
Dan Payne as Mathew Buckner (Buckner Clan - Dangerous!)
Jodelle Ferland as Patience Buckner (Buckner Clan - Dangerous!)
Dan Shea as Father Buckner (Buckner Clan - Dangerous!)
Maya Massar as Mother Buckner (Buckner Clan - Dangerous!)
Naomi Dane as Japanese Floaty Girl (okay... this is hard to explain.  See for yourself.)
Ellie Harvie as Military Liaison (background extra)
Patrick Gilmore as Werewolf Wrangler (Our Werewolf Wrangler!)
Brad Dryborough as Chem Department Guy (Some Other Guy - I think he dies or something)

The things you have to know and understand about this film is that the title is a little unfortunate, it isn't a slasher film like some people claim, and that it was written and produced by Joss Whedon.  This is the same Joss Whedon that created Serenity, Firefly and Buffy the Vampire Slayer. This film has Whedon's fingerprints all over it and it's his finest effort to date. Here's why, without spoilers.

The thing about Whedon is that nothing is off limits to him.  He'll introduce a character, class that character as a hero and a real survivor, then kill him off.  Her too - women are not immune to this.  So, when a group of five friends go to a remote location and stay at a cabin in the woods, well... everyone knows what's going to happen, right?  Whedon plays off this constantly and his timing is impeccable.  Expect one event, get all set for it and you'll be surprised by what you see.

The acting in Cabin is excellent.  I especially enjoyed Fran Kranz who plays Marty like a real natural, and the chemistry between Chris Hemsworth (Curt) and Anna Hutchison (Jules) is especially good.  Then there's Tim De Zarn (Mordecai) who caused the young lady sitting next to me to clear her seat by six inches on De Zarn's first appearance.  Great stuff.

The sets are solid with a lot of detail that I've seen in Whedon's other films.  Whedon has always done a great job of providing interesting window dressing to his sets, and this film is no exception.  Likewise the costuming is good, and it doesn't take away from the plot or the action.

The special effects are outstanding.  They are well thought out and not overdone, including a battle royal that takes place around the final third of the film, and that is the main reason I'm going to see the film again.

The plot looks to be cut and dried, and it isn't.  The ending keeps turning in different, new directions so as to keep everyone guessing - right up to the rolling of the credits.

On a scale of 1 to 10, The Cabin in the Woods gets a 9.

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