THE CABIN IN THE WOODS


The Cabin in the Woods is director/writer (along with co-writer Drew Goddard) Josh Whedon’s attempt at making a silk purse out of a sow’s ear, and he succeeds two thirds of the time.  It was like Whedon was saying, “you want another ridiculous movie about some boring kids portrayed by actors way too old to play them who get stranded in the woods and preyed upon by some evil force, I’ll give you another ridiculous movie about some boring kids portrayed by actors way too old to play them who get stranded in the woods and preyed upon by some evil force, and make you sorry you asked for it, too”.  And this section of the movie is, indeed, its least successful part, almost excruciatingly so; it is at times mind-numbingly painful to watch the stereotypes portrayed by Chris Hemsworth, Kristen Connelly, Anna Hutchinson, Jesse Williams and Fran Kranz (especially Mssr. Kranz) go through their clichéd ridden acrobatics (where is a brain tumor when you need one).  However, below this cabin in the, well, you know where, sit Richard Jenkins and Bradley Whitford, two mid-level bureaucrats (and stand ins for Whedon and Goddard), who are doing something nefarious.   These parts are filled with darkly comic repartee and clever satiric plot turns, all spoken or acted out with tongue planted firmly in cheek   And whenever the film digs below the surface (both literally and metaphorically), then the movie is highly (highly) entertaining, especially in the preposterously over the top second half where ALL is revealed (along with the appearance of an extra special guest star—those who’ve seen the movie know exactly who I’m talking about).  The authors also do something clever here; in spite of how horrible the bureaucrats are, how soulless they act, how much they resemble DMV workers, I did slowly realize that they were right and I had to cheer for the over the hill teenagers to fail and die, even I didn’t quite understand why, yet.   Does it work?  Not quite.  It doesn’t fully rise above its genre (and its attempts to explore the idea of myth may seem to get pretentious—though how could it not).  And I was hoping for a different ending that riffs off the aspect of virginity.  But, as I said, it was highly (highly) entertaining.  
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