'The Cabin in The Woods'
(Kristen Connolly, Chris Hemsworth, Anna Hutchison, Fran Kranz, Richard Jenkins, et al / R / 105 mins / MGM-LGF)
Overview: A group of friends head to a cabin in the far reaches of the wilderness for some vacation fun, but they end up getting something completely different in this MGM horror flick. Cloverfield scribe Drew Goddard takes a seat in the director's chair for the first time for this film that he and Joss Whedon wrote together.
Verdict: The title recalls the cult slasher flicks of the 80's like "Don't Go In The Woods", and opens with the same cultish, campy scenario ala the "Friday the 13th" movies, but thru the magic of Joss Whedon, the similarity ends there. Sure, this is done in the beginning with an almost low-budget cult-film look ... then it begins to build a charm with the five leads right from the start, forcing you to figure out "okay... which one dies first, and which one survives?!"
And yes, I do say the film has a charm all it's own, made thru the masterful Producing, Co-Writing, and Co-Directing of Joss Whedon and Drew Goddard... but also thru the brilliant acting chops of all the principal 'college kids' and those actors 'behind the curtain'. If you've seen the previews, you already know there is a sci-fi element behind that curtain, and the story reveals it from the opening frame.
By the thrid act, tho, you get fooled into the "big reveal", and the film becomes a fun roller-coaster ride! See it!