The Cabin in the Woods – 4.5/5 stars

After the bankruptcy of MGM in 2010, film fans were worried that this film would not see the light of day.

Now, after extensive word-of-mouth on social networks and overall Joss Whedon-related buzz, The Cabin in the Woods is unleashed to the general public after two years of will-it-won’t-it distribution hell.

The film sees five college students make their way to an isolated cabin in the woods to let their hair down, only to face something completely unexpected.

The trick to enjoy this film is not to read anything about it.  Watch the odd TV spot if you want but anything past the trailer and you are denying yourself the experience of watching this film.

During a time when horror films tend to be psychologically sick and twisted, sometimes you just want to go back to something a bit simpler – less of the gore and torture porn and just up the chill and scare factor.

After watching the first 30 minutes or so, the initial concept of the film is like most teen-horror films; you have the sporty one (Thor‘s Chris Hemsworth), the hot and promiscuous one (Anna Hutchinson), the smart one (Jesse Williams), the stoned one (Dollhouse’s Fran Kranz) and the innocent one (Kristen Connolly).  Giving that there are so many horror films that cover what you should or shouldn’t do, Cabin provides certain clichés that are indeed groan-worthy.  Aside from the stereotypical character profiles, you can see the fates of certain characters a mile off.

However, writer Whedon and director Joss Goddard don’t dwell on these clichés too often, as the story provides more twists and turns than the Spaghetti Junction – when you think you have seen it all before, something new rears its head.  In effect, they have brought the old-school horror to the modern times, while giving the occasional nod to the classic films that established the genre.

The dialogue is as witty as you would expect from Whedon, whose efforts on Buffy, Angel, Firefly and the upcoming Avengers Assemble have affirmed him a cult hero amongst the iPod generation.  From the first scene with The West Wing‘s Bradley Whitford and Six Feet Under‘s Richard Jenkins, you know there is more than the usual gorefest – making this, in two words, surprising entertaining.

Disgusting at times and fun in others, The Cabin in the Woods, is like a breath of fresh air to an exhausted genre.  Don’t overthink it – just prepare to be entertained.

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