[The Cabin In The Woods]
Synopsis:Five friends go for a break at a remote cabin in the woods, where they get more than they bargained for. Together, they must discover the truth behind the cabin in the woods.

Cast:Kristen Connolly, Chris Hemsworth, Anna Hutchison, Fran Kranz, Jesse Williams, Richard Jenkins, Bradley Whitford, Brian White, Amy Acker, Tim De Zarn, Tom Lenk, Dan Payne, Jodelle Ferland, Dan Shea, Maya Massar.

My Thoughts:What's the big deal?

Review:Drew Goddard and Joss Whedon's "The Cabin In The Woods", was one of 2012's most-anticipated horror releases within the community of genre-enthusiasts. The film was getting lots of hype even before it was released. Even after its release dates were shifted around a bit and such. And even after all we got promotionally from the film for awhile, were cryptic posters. Well after seeing the film recently for the first time. My feeling is..."what's the big deal about this movie again?"

"TCITW" follows a group of five friends who head up to a mysterious cabin in the woods for a break from school. Upon arrival, it seems that they've been targeted by mysterious forces. Who're looking to push their buttons, and in the end...put them 6 feet under. These forces come in the form of some sicko-scientists. Who apparently, are a part of a network of people who set up horror movie or "horrific" scenarios around the globe. In an attempt to appease "the old ones".

Creatures who live underground, and need ritual sacrifices of humans to keep them "happy". Otherwise, the world could be crushed beneath them if they're infuriated and angered. What a storyline huh? Personally...I LOVED IT! It's ambitious, outside the box, and has "cool" dripping from its pores. Unfortunately...the movie itself doesn't execute key parts, and large portions of its story well at all. And the bland cast doesn't help matters much either. One thing is for certain though. This definitely felt like a Joss Whedon movie.

It also had elements of "Buffy The Vampire Slayer" woven into it. Which were highly noticeable. Particularly at the end. But the writing was not very "Buffy". In fact, if you're looking for witty, cool, and pithy in this movies script? You might wanna look elsewhere. So why did "Cabin" fail at being the epic horror film it should've been? Well for starters...the five leads just flat out sucked. Hemsworth was not cut out for this movie. Obviously, he's extremely good looking to his fan-base and would appeal to the female demo who lives for these sorts of movies. And who're fans of Josses work in general. But his acting was flat in this movie. And his character, a Jockish a-hole basically...was even more uninteresting than his performance.

Hutchinson and Connolly? If only their acting and character depth...were as noticeable and obvious as their good looks. And the others? Well...they aren't even worth mentioning. In total. This is a film with five leads as our heroes/victims. Who were exceptionally flat, boring, and non-intriguing. I never really cared a lick for these folks. Couldn't bring myself to. They were too boring, not very likeable, and the acting didn't help matters much either. Now with that in mind, the second working part to this film were its villains. The folks hidden underground. Who're orchestrating all the action topside. THESE folks, were interesting. Spontaneous, fun to watch, and intriguing. I guess its because there's so much "mystery" and "intrigue" surrounding them.
First off, you have two members and Brian White, who perhaps have more than some remorse about what they're doing to these teenagers. Second, you have a mysterious character called Mordecai...who the scientists or test-researchers seem to answer to upstairs. And then after that, you have these mysterious subterranean dwellers. Who if not appeased, could cause catastrophic results above. So, so much is working with and around these guys that you wish THEY were above ground. And the boring ass teenagers were below ground. I am not gonna say I hated this movie. Because I didn't. It had good, hell...GREAT ideas. It had a great plan, and unending potential. But when we're introduced to our main five characters, it's like...THESE PEOPLE? If you had replaced these folks with the cast of "Final Destination 3" or "Sorority Row".

Then maybe, I would've been more entertained. But damn were these folks boring. And perhaps...PERHAPS. That's because they were meant to be "fodder". For the creatures and monsters that the researchers below kept releasing to go and attack them. So why spend time developing a bunch of characters who're just gonna die bloody, or get eaten anyways? But to make matters less obvious, perhaps developing the characters and casting better...would've given the audience hope (albeit false)...that their chances of survival were medium to high in a movie like this. This film had elements of "The Evil Dead" in it for sure as well. Two scenes in particular make that obvious. But as does the "woods" setting. And the "creatures out to get us" subplot. Speaking of the creatures...they're all like straight out of a horror movie. MULTIPLE...horror movies in fact.

They range from zombie-killer-backwoods-rednecks, to ghosts, to all sorts of things. But what we don't get...is enough of a steady flow. See...when you set up a story that has people who're hidden, releasing creatures upon unsuspecting teenagers. You envision "13 Ghosts". Where they're all coming rapid-fire, one after the other. This film works too slowly in releasing it's "beasts". And even once they're loose, they aren't that cool anyways. I mean. Victor Crowley...these monsters are not! And to make matters worse, because our college students have the IQ of washing machine lint, their deaths are all but assured. And their survival skills are about as dull as a 25 year old butterknife. So in the end, you KNOW these kids are toast.

And that hurts the film on the viewer end when I am already sure 15 minutes in, my flat and boring under 35 cast are all goners! Honestly, I think this film would've been better off switching out the "feed" of what was occurring at The Cabin, for what was taking place at the school in Japan. Sure, it would've been a whole different movie then. But hey, at least it would've been more entertaining. "Cabin" does manage to somewhat avoid a total nuclear meltdown with a wild and outrageous ending though.

Where all hell breaks loose below as two of our heroes manage to out the pieces together about what's "really" going on, and this results in some much deserved and warranted payback for our "sinister researcher" friends. Which includes a killer clown attack, a giant snake, a Sigourney Weaver cameo, and even a unicorn impalement! Random? Yes. Unexpected? Yes. Funny as hell? Absolutely. In fact, the films final 15 minutes has so much fun at the expense of some of its characters that you wonder where all of this "unchaining of the script" was...back in act 1.

It seems they opted to do the "slow burn" thing for about 65 minutes. And then decided to kick things into high gear in the final 20 minutes or so. Strange. The finale doesn't save what I felt was a subpar flick, but it does make you wish that they had been more free-flowing with...everything, early on. Perhaps this movie could've been all-the-way salvaged.

THE GOOD:The overall idea for this film was stupendous and well played. Too bad it wasn't executed well. The directing was good but the lighting was very poor. The finale was intense, wild, and fun. With some very cool surprises.

THE BAD:Poorly executed storyline. A hugely missed opportunity. I felt the movies first and second acts, should've been as action packed and intense as its conclusion. The acting by the protagonists was horrible, and their characters written as too flat and too fodder. Their personalities were barely present! There also should've been more monsters topside, and the monsters should've been reworked to be more memorable.

OVERALL:Two stars out of four.

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