The Cabin in the Woods online has been about "spoilers" - who in talking about the movie has ruined it and who has managed to paint a picture of it while leaving the fun intact. Having narrowly missed my chance to see it at the SXSW premiere due to travel timing I've carefully avoided reading anything about the film until after watching it, which I did Friday night. Now that I've seen it I can happily report that at the end ........
Nah - I don't want to go there. Even though I'm not so sure knowing more than you'd like really capsizes the fun. As opposed to someone pointing out that Jim Morrison dies at the end or the giant party boat full of people hits an iceberg and sinks. Where there's really no point in showing up. Unless one of those is in 3D of course. Cabin in the Woods is about the build up, the humor, the characters and being Whedon of course the dialog. Less so for me a single big and hard to imagine twist. Director co-writer Drew Goddard has worked with co-writer Joss Whedon to put something together fun, clever and good looking to watch.
See this movie if you like horror and suspense done well. Don't see this movie if you hate the sight of blood and scares. Actually, everyone not in the second camp probably should see it too. In all fairness to the spoiler arguments I do recommend not watching a trailer nor reading much more the picture. I don't fully buy the research/argument that knowing the end helps. Though if you've been accidentally exposed I truly still think it's worth going. And not just so you can join intelligently into an argument about whether or not the film falls apart at the end (answer: I don't think so myself).
I will now do my darnedest to talk about the film without giving away anything.
A group of five friends go off to a cabin in the wood. They're all recognizable spins on the familiar archetypes, jock, hot girl, brain, stoner, and equally hot but prone to wearing a hat woman (not really, but the concept still holds). Someone's cousin just bought the cabin and they're gonna head up for the weekend to have a great time. If they don't run into something creepy and deadly along the way. Folks, if you're heading up to the woods and you run across a creepy old yet spry guy spouting off about you all being whores that are going to die (along with references to the number of prior tenants of the cabin), maybe it's time for a trip to somewhere else instead. And if you do go, for heaven's sake, seriously stay the hell out the basement. Just saying... Of course such a warning is ignored - to dire consequences. Likely more dire than one would guess. At least certainly more involved - that's for sure
Fran Kranz) whose insight is perhaps amplified by the copious herb he's constantly imbibing. Marty's way more aware of what's going on than one would guess and hella funny much of the time he opens his mouth. Plus he sports the most ingenious (and practical for the horror in the woods outing) bong I've ever seen onscreen. Certainly a valid corollary to Denis Leary's assertion that marijuana usage inevitably leads to carpentry.
Cabin in the Woods managed to keep me either laughing or on edge throughout the picture - sometimes both. Whedon has the tenancy to kill off major characters out of left field, and that dynamic means from the get go you can't count on who's going to make it out alive. The fusion of genre feels appears in numerous creative ways. The best example being a dare involving a stuffed wolf's head and a kiss that's simultaneously funny, borderline erotic and suspenseful as hell. You will feel strange afterward.
The parts no one wants to talk about first appear in the film's opening sequence involving a parallel set of characters in a sci-fi nerve-center. From minute one we know something more involved is afoot and there are a lot of bits to try and piece together as you watch. It also plays well as a homage to all films about things that go bump in the night. Occasionally making a comment or two about horror audiences and how they may appear from the outside to those who "just don't understand."
As the picture progresses towards the final reveal tension builds and buckets of blood are spilled. Personally I think the overall arc isn't that hard to anticipate early on. To their credit all the pieces are there to put together. The journey is the true point, a tribute to back-country horror, Lovecraftian evil, and literally everything else scary in the cinematic universe. It's not just did you/did you not guess the outcome thing. Whedon and Goddard keep the mind working and the viewer never really relaxed. Totally worth the random nightmare I had the night after viewing it. Not to mention how I'll never be able to look at a stuffed, mounted animal the same way again.