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Movie review: The Cabin in the Woods

"The Cabin in the Woods" starts with the somewhat clichéd story of five young people setting off for a weekend of partying.

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Robert Burleson
“The Cabin in the Woods” is a smart twist on an age-old horror story. I enjoyed it and recommend it to any horror fan and any film goer who doesn’t mind a few scares and a bit of gore.

With that said, I feel that it is a film best taken in with as few spoilers as possible. I am not going to give away anything besides the overall story and how well it was executed, but if you want to take the film in fresh stop reading now.

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Alright then. “The Cabin in the Woods” starts with the somewhat cliched story of five young people setting off for a weekend of partying. There is the “hot girl,” the “athlete,” the “nerd,” the “pothead" and the “good girl.”

They are headed to the athlete's cousin's cabin they have never been to in the middle of nowhere. They run into a creepy gas station owner on the way and find the cabin to be full of creepy artifacts and dark, scary places for monsters to hide. Enter the twist, the whole weekend is an elaborate conspiracy controlled by men in an underground control center.

Now, that would seem like a spoiler, but it really isn’t. It is known to the audience from the very beginning.

The film is smartly written by Joss Whedon and Drew Goddard. Both were writers on the tv show “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” and have a knack for witty dialog that does more than explain the situation. The dialog makes you care for the characters a little more than you usually would while watching a horror movie. The film also lets the characters be a little smarter than usual. The characters question horror movie cliches such as splitting up and going down into the dark basement.

Goddard pulls double duty as director and does a good job. The camera always shows just enough to keep you on the edge of your seat.

The acting is also a little better than your average horror movie. I will be looking for the cast to show up in more movies soon.

The film did have a few problems. The final act feels a little sloppy. Some characters aren’t given very much closure to their part of the story. While the overall story-line is explained, there are still lots of questions regarding the how and the why of some of the wilder elements. The final act also ups the gore level a little too much for my taste and abandons all of the suspense for mere shock value.

Overall, I enjoyed the film very much. Horror fans in particular will enjoy it for all of the nods to other films in the genre. If you’re not a horror fan, it might not be the film for you. Especially for those who aren’t a fan of gore. I really wanted to be able to call this film great but with the weak third act, I have to go with good. The high-end of good though, definitely in need of another viewing.

3 out of 5 stars

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