The Cabin in the Woods cooks up angles from every possible cliche horror film, pops them into the oven, peppers to taste and — presto — an original recipe.
The premise starts with 20-somethings in a remote cabin imbibing in drugs, alcohol and sex. Yawn. Been there. Done that.
They end up in a cellar, an ancient curse is invoked and — presto — zombies.
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Expected bloody killing ensues. Been there. Done that, too.
Mingled into their story is a couple of technicians managing and monitoring the mayhem. Managing? Monitoring? Zombies? Interesting. Also helpful is one comic line after another is tossed off by the two characters done by stone-faced pros Richard Jenkins and Bradley Whitford.
Their connection to the chaos becomes more apparent as the plot thickens.
Loony lab technicians? You could go the mad scientist route here. Been there, done that, too. While not that original, loony lab technicians screwing up things for humanity in a chop-and-slash zombie movie is an interesting direction. And this is where the plot explanation needs to stop.
All I can say is the surviving members of the cabin outing enter into even more familiar horror territory. It is how the territory gets defined and exactly who’s there that twist The Cabin in the Woods into one of the best horror films in a decade.
And if this is your thing, it's the most fun you’ll have had in a theater so far this year.
There is a reason. Joss Whedon (Firefly). I think the familiar metaphor is everything he touches is gold. Whedon stays away from the camera with this one and just writes. The Cabin in the Woods is orchestrated by Cloverfield writer Drew Goddard, who also helps Whedon with the writing.
No horror film works as well as one packed with humor. The second-best formula is a story with a twist. You get both here and in spades. The Cabin in the Woods is very well-written and gruesomely funny.
You’ll love this one from the first laugh to the last twist.
Mr. Movie rating: 4 stars
Rated R for extreme violence, nudity, language, drug use. It is playing at the Carmike 12, the Fairchild Cinemas 12 and Walla Walla Grand Cinemas.
5 stars to 4 1/2 stars: Must see on the big screen
4 stars to 3 1/2 stars: Good film, see it if it's your type of movie.
3 stars to 2 1/2 stars: Wait until it comes out on video.
2 stars to 1 star: Don't bother.
0 stars: Speaks for itself.