It is fair to say that excitement for Cabin in the Woods was high. I am part of the Buffy/Firefly generation so if Joss Whedon is involved I will be driving the bandwagon through town.
PLOT: Five teens head to a secluded cabin in the woods for the weekend. What they do not know is that they are walking into a highly controlled government facility in which five sacrifices must be offered to appease the old gods and prevent the end of the world. END PLOT
The plot initially follows the beats of traditional slasher fare with five unlikely friends heading off to a secluded forest. What sets it apart from the rest is that right off the bat we are introduced to Hadley (Bradley Whitford) and Sitterson (Richard Jenkinson) who are in charge of ensuring that the ritual sacrificing goes to plan.
There were many references to horror films and monsters and who knew that a unicorn would be evil? The script was clever but it lacked the snappy dialogue you would expect from Whedon.
The gore is there with several of the teens meeting a rather bloody demise but the most entertaining part of Cabin in the Woods is the humour, most of which was provided by Hadley and Sitterson, although the Japanese do deserve special mention for their failed version of the sacrifice.
Hadley and Sitterson’s jobsworth attitudes to the sacrifices is very funny – from taking survival bets to long running dreams of a merman. The office celebration, with shots of Dana being continually stabbed playing on monitors in the background, was wonderfully executed.
Chris Hemsworth was the most recognisable of the teens and although Fran Kranz bordered on annoying he just about kept on side. The teens fulfilled their purposely clichéd roles well but the stars of the film have to be Whitford and Sitterson.
The action didn’t disappoint with the drama around the cabin evolving into bloody mayhem when all the monsters got loose in the main headquarters. There were several very decent set pieces - the section in the cellar and the monster filing system Dana and Marty found themselves trapped in are the ones which stood out the most.
Everything about Cabin in the Woods was slick and polished yet somehow something just fell flat. The film was entertaining and I did enjoy it but it just left me feeling completely unsatisfied and disappointed. It gets a 6/10. Cabin in the Woods had a smug air about it similar to Scott Pilgrim in that it almost bought into its own hype and cleverness. I hate that.