Stop me if you’ve seen this one: A handful of attractive young folks representing immediately recognizable types—the good girl, the sexy girl, the jock, the decent guy, the stoner—plan a weekend of partying at a remote cabin in the woods. When they arrive, though, something timeless and implacable begins stalking and brutally slaughtering them one by one. Liquor-fueled rounds of “truth or dare” and displays of nubile flesh give way to screaming and running and bleeding and dying.
On second thought, don’t stop me. Even if you’ve seen this one—even if you’ve seen it over and over again—you haven’t seen this one, this The Cabin in the Woods. Produced by Joss Whedon, who also co-wrote with director (and longtime Whedonite) Drew Goddard, the movie is a delightful demolition of the horror genre, a tale that subverts not only its own terrors, but those of pretty much every scary movie you’ve ever seen. Why do the protagonists of these films always choose the worst moment and locale to have sex? Why do they split up when it’s evident they should stick together? The Cabin in the Woods at last offers answers.
This is a movie best seen with a minimum of foreknowledge, so I’ll spoil as little as possible. (I’d strongly recommend avoiding the trailer, which reveals a good deal more than I will.) Suffice to say that there are two interwoven narratives taking place at once: the one in the woods with the kids (among them Kristen Connolly and Thor’s Chris Hemsworth); and another, at a secret bunker of the military-industrial complex, where two beleaguered company men (Richard Jenkins and Bradley Whitford), along with a large cadre of technicians, accountants, interns, and various other drones, are hard at work, doing—well, if I told you what they were doing, someone (not me) would presumably have to kill you.
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