Thursday, October 4, 2012

Countdown to Halloween Day 4 -- Watch This Movie! : a Spoiler-Free Review of "The Cabin in the Woods"

I have made no secret of my love of the works of Joss Whedon:  Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Angel, Firefly, Dr. Horrible's Sing-along Blog, The Avengers, and, yes, even Dollhouse once it found its footing.  Yes, he has his quirks, and no, his style is not for everyone, but there are only a handful of writers out there whose name in the credits guarantees I will see a film, and Joss is one of them.  Which is what made the two year delay in releasing The Cabin in the Woods so frustrating; knowing that somewhere out there was sitting an honest-to-goodness Horror movie co-written and produced by Joss, and that it might not ever get a release due to studio problems killed my inner fanboy a bit.  So when it was announced that Lionsgate had bought the rights to distribute the film and it was actually going to get a full theatrical release, my inner fanboy did a dance of joy*.

 Of course, after years of anticipation, there was always the fear that perhaps I had built the movie up too much in my mind, and that the weight of my expectations was going to drag down my enjoyment.

Instead, it was better than I had imagined.

Since a lot of my enjoyment of the film came from the surprises along the way, I don't want to get into to much detail of the plot.  At its core, it's the story of five college friends who go on a weekend retreat to the titular location, where they unwittingly awaken something evil; at the same time, from the very first scene the audience has been let in on the fact that there's more to this evil than meets the eye.  

At this point, I would like to refer you back to my opening "I love all things Joss" disclaimer; if you are not a fan of what he does, then more than likely this movie isn't going to work for you.  As both Joss and the director Drew Goddard (who also co-wrote) state in the DVD commentary, much of what makes this film work is its tone, which manages to balance horror and humor in a very Whedony way; if that tone doesn't resonate with you, then the film itself won't click for you either.  

That being said, I implore any horror fans out there who haven't seen this movie yet to go out and rent it; I'll be back later in the month to give a more detailed, spoiler-laden review.

*For those not in the know, the joy dancing Numfar there was played by Joss himself

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