The brilliantly and wickedly clever brainchild of Joss Whedon, Cabin in the Woods basically destroys the horror genre; I can't imagine how one can make another horror flick after this virtuoso hour-and-a-half-long display of metatheatrical wit, humor, and - yes - gore. Where Scary Movie (2000) had parodied the horror genre for silly laughs, Cabin in the Woods takes on that genre, with all its tropes and stereotypes and expectations, in an entirely different and gloriously intelligent way.
I should start off with this caveat: if you don't like horror movies, then you won't like Cabin in the Woods. If you're squeamish about gore and violence, then this isn't for you. But if you are like La Parisienne and me in that we laugh at horror flicks and love a little bloody mayhem, then you are in for a rare treat of moviemaking.
Unusually for one of my movie reviews, perhaps, I won't tell you much about the plot at all. Honestly, the less you know about it when you see it, the better. What I'll say is that the trope-tastic premise is that five college students decide to spend a weekend in a cabin in the woods, and then all hell breaks loose ... but its ultimate reasons and motivations are not at all what you expect. If you're a Buffy and Angel fan, I'll add that what happens is of a fiendish caliber fit for the Senior Partners.
The cast is great, and if you are a Whedon fan, you will be delighted to see some familiar faces, along with a surprise cameo at the end. Bonus: Chris Hemsworth in a pre-Thor role.
I'll end with this, a note on one of my favorite moments in the movie: an elevator in an office building dings, and I actually burst out laughing and applauded - I was so delightedly happy.
In conclusion? If you're looking for a fun and smart film for Halloween, then do visit Cabin in the Woods.
Mad Minerva gives this film a grade of A.
Rotten Tomatoes gives Cabin in the Woods the excellently Fresh rating of 91%.
Cabin in the Woods runs 95 minutes and is rated R for some drug use, language, brief sexuality, and lots and lots of bloody violence.