Crazy-ass gruesome horror that is the most intense one you’re likely see this year. Cabin in the Woods adopts the old tale formula of kids picked off by demonic or evil forces in a remote cabin, but the filmmakers take this gimmick for one heck of a wild ride. There’s a second parallel story at hand, with two men at a controller’s switchboard. This cabin is a rigged one, which kind of explains the secret compartments. The beasts are “pain-worshipping redneck zombies,” also known as the Buckner family (!), but that’s not all there is. To say that the final third of the movie is masterfully orchestrated would be a fair statement. It’s a vomitorium of imagination, and that’s a compliment. Joss Whedon (“Serenity” director) and Drew Goddard (“Cloverfield” screenwriter) worked on the script together which pushes the envelope for the genre, Goddard directs.
Certainly this is the most exciting, as well as terrifying horror picture since last year’s “Insidious.” Most of it will be too intense for non-horror fans, so once you know what group you belong to, then you will know whether you’re going or not.
The jock (Chris Hemsworth) and the slut (Anna Hutchinson) are practically archetype staples for this genre, but they actually use their attributes fittingly. I much preferred the pristine virgin (Kristen Connelly, pretty redhead we see first in panties), although the validity of her virginity is questioned. The brainy varsity kid (Jesse Williams) is well brought up with manners, he could be more crude but he chooses not to. Hence, when he can see the pretty virgin take off her top through a one-way mirror, he knocks on the wall to get her attention to stop. And the pothead (Fran Kranz) is the only one who hears the voices.
I can’t possibly spoil the surprises. I can say that it intertwined movie elements lifted from such features as “Evil Dead 2” (1987), “Cube” (1997) and “Dark City” (1998). Oh, and it’s also very gory. The Japanese schoolgirls were a nice touch. And it has a mimic of Pinhead from the “Hellraiser” movies. Yes, the Buckner family gets some late hours assistance.
Co-stars Richard Jenkins and Bradley Whitford offer some morbid comic relief, only I don’t think you can call it “relief” when it comes to this particular movie. With a late night crowd hungering for laughs and scares, “Cabin” might bring pandemonium.
95 Minutes. Rated R.
HORROR THRILLER / SUPERNATURAL / LATE NIGHT THRILLS
Film Cousins: “Evil Dead 2” (1987); “Cube” (1997); “Cabin Fever” (2002); “Quarantine” (2008).