Sunday, April 22, 2012

The Cabin in the Woods

Today I saw The Cabin in the Woods, starring Kristen Connolly and Fran Kranz.

The premise is simple: a group of college-age friends head out to the woods for a weekend getaway. Their destination is a cabin that belongs to the cousin of one of the friends.

As with most horror films, there are stereotypical characters drawn boldly, very early on.

Dana (Connolly) is the innocent one (though there's talk that she just ended an affair with her professor);  Marty (Kranz) is the stoner; Kurt (Chris Hemsworth) is the jock; Jules (Anna Hutchison) is Kurt's girlfriend—complete with bleached blonde hair. Rounding out the group is the brain, cutely named for a famous literary character, Holden (Jesse Williams).

En route to the cabin, which can't be found on a GPS, they encounter a creepy man at a side-of-the-road store who is mean to them. Yes, all of this usual fodder is presented as a big wink to the viewers, in the same vein as the Scream movies. But that's not necessarily a bad thing.

Once the friends arrive at their destination, things start getting scary... and unfortunately, that's about all I can say about it without spoiling the whole thing.

What I can say: The supporting characters played by Richard Jenkins and Bradley Whitford are a lot of fun, and I was delighted to see how much screen time was actually dedicated to them (it's a lot). The big-star cameo at the end is awesome too.

I also for the most part liked all of the main actors' performances (except for Marty, who seemed to be like an exaggerated Owen Wilson minus the charm). The writing overall is clever, if not an intentional mish-mash of about four other movies in the genre.

What I could have done without were the scenes where they're attempting to pay homage to about 20 different horror icons and you get the sense they're presented in chaos only to force repeat viewings (so you can say that you spotted them all). I'm sure I didn't see half of them, but I'm okay with that.

All in all it was an entertaining ride and I would recommend it to folks who can handle a little 'movie blood' and laugh at the end result.

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