Seriously, are you kidding?
“It’s meta!” they say.
More like meh-ta.
Does it upend every horror convention? Yes, but in doing so it fails to appeal to anyone who wouldn’t be caught dead at a horror convention.
The Cabin in the Woods is overwhelmed by its far-fetched desire to be clever (not that I would know anything about that), and it includes the kinds of absurd twists that bend sense into nonsense and nonsense into meta-nonsense. At the heart of this movie is the idea of human sacrifice, and no human will sacrifice more than the one who plunks down ten bucks for this flick.
Could it be that this movie is from fanboy wunderkind Joss Whedon, he of Buffy the Vampire Slayer and a variety of other shows that don’t last nearly as long and are chocked full of pretty young people delivering quirky, witty dialogue past each other because it looks great on paper or in a bikini?
Or even in a bikini on paper?
Why yes, yes it could!
Whedon routinely populates his projects with great actors alongside the truly wretched. Amber Benson, anyone? Eliza Dushku? The great Richard Jenkins opposite the guy who plays Thor? I’ve seen better acting in the audience for Judge Judy.
Normally I save my Bradley Whitford and Richard Jenkins movies for the Lifetime channel where they belong. But Whedon has infused this multidimensional mess with Whitford, Jenkins, and enough unemployed characters from his failed series Dollhouse to staff every Abercrombie & Fitch in Beverly Hills.
Cabin has been on the shelf for three years maturing like a cask of balsamic vinegar, and with the same bitter aftertaste. Maybe the thinking was this movie would play better in cobwebs. Well, I’m here to tell you: More cobwebs!
Cabin in the Woods has enough six-packs and hooters to earn an up-thumb from Roger Corman.
Into the cellar go the characters where they play with deadly antiques and discover an evil Latin spell, an REO Speedwagon song, and a character with a face made of teeth. “Maybe we should have saved the teeth for the script,” said a pensive Whedon to no one in particular, which is exactly who will be in the audience for this movie.
Watch for stoner Fran Kranz who plays high like he’s Mr. Potter closing down the Bailey Building and Loan.
And Sigourney Weaver makes a cameo here proving that the desire to put food on the table can make almost any project look worthy.
This is the point where we learn this movie is all about “the ancient ones.”
“What, Sarah Michelle Gellar and David Boreanaz?” asked stoner Fran.
“The very same,” said Sigourney. “Now take off that ‘Every Time a Bell Rings, and Angel gets his Medical Marijuana Card’ tee shirt and help me cash this check before the studio changes its mind!
I have much higher hopes for Whedon’s upcoming The Avengers. But first, he evidently needed to clean this Cabin out of his closet.