Joss Whedon is a busy guy, so perhaps he’s not as shrewd as the circumstances surrounding the release of The Cabin in the Woods would have us believe. Then again, he probably is. After months of release delays and a nicely executed marketing plan for a movie with a name as intentionally referential as this, there has to be a chance that in his capacity as co-writer and producer, he thought out its release as much as he did the actual film.
All of which bodes well – but those of you familiar with Whedon’s work are aware that this was never going to be just a horror movie about a group of college co-eds taking a summer break in a remote cabin (in the woods), cut off from the rest of civilization. The beauty of it is though, that brevity of allusion and parody works at several levels as our five “beauties” step into seclusion, inviting certain doom, and it isn’t long before mysterious forces operating literally and metaphysically underneath the surface kick in.
You also don’t need to be an aesthete to know that this is not a film for the high-art minded. It’s a horror film with some astute observations thrown in, nicely undermined from the get-go by men in white lab coats making jokes, heaping black comedy on an already over-quoted genre. But don’t go to have your dearly held horror convictions checked. Buy your popcorn, enjoy the ride and save the meta-chat for afterwards.
Cabin in the Woods | Directed by Drew Goddard (USA 2011) with Kristen Connolly, Chris Hemsworth, Richard Jenkins, Bradley Whitford. Starts September 6