April 12, 2012 by Vinnie Leduc
Starring Thor‘s Chris Hemsworth and a bunch of fresh young meat, The Cabin in the Woods is the new “horror thriller” that’s hampered by bad CGI reminiscent of The Mist, except that Stephen King adaptation was good whereas The Cabin in the Woods falls a little short mostly due to its unsatisfactory third act and lack of horror or thrills. Co-writer Drew Goddard, who wrote Cloverfield and several Lost episodes, makes his directional debut a decent and fascinating one with loads of genre references that horror fans will greatly appreciate (it’s like Scream to the max), but as an actual horror movie, The Cabin in the Woods fails to deliver the scares and the suspense.
It’s not scary at all because right from the beginning, they reveal the puppeteers and establish a light mood that’s atypical of the genre and that’ll keep biting it in the ass. They’ve basically started to give away what could’ve been an awesome twist or reveal in the VERY FIRST scene, and it repeatedly returns like a reminder, rendering the horror and suspense ineffective, especially when you’re laughing along with these behind-the-scenes Gamesmakers, played excellently by Academy Award nominee Richard Jenkins and the weaselly bad guy from Billy Madison.
Intriguing throughout, The Cabin in the Woods strings you along as you’ll want more details and you’ll want to know exactly what’s going on, but the payoff is fool’s gold. I tell people who hated the Lost finale that while the conclusion of the philosophical and mysterious sci-fi series was a letdown for many viewers, Lost was more about the journey and the wonderful experience over the seasons. Intense drama, gripping cliffhangers, and stunning reveals were weekly staples of that TV show. You could argue that The Cabin in the Woods is all about the journey, too, but it’s not suspenseful, it’s not scary, and it’s not thrilling! There’s not even one of those cheap, suddenly loud, jump-out-of-your-seat moments. But I gotta say again that it is comical and interesting.
I applaud the ending, but it was still pretty lame. Whichever way it could’ve ended, it doesn’t really matter because like I said before, the novelty of the twist, if you want to even call it that, is lost early.
The Cabin in the Woods is really funny when it tries to be, pretty interesting till the last half hour, but most importantly, not scary or thrilling throughout the supposed horror movie. The result is that the commentary that the movie has regarding the tired genre is weakened and severely loses a more profound impact. I’ll probably be skewered for pushing guilty pleasure Lockout above this highly acclaimed movie (93% on Rotten Tomatoes? What the hell?), but like Lockout, I don’t really care. Sue me. The Cabin in the Woods gets 2.5 out of 5 stars or C+.