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Cabin In The Woods, The (2011)
Movie Review by The Mortician

Cabin In The Woods, The (2011) After all the build-up and hype this movie received, I was stoked to finally get the opportunity to see this one! I've rarely heard anything negative about THE CABIN IN THE WOODS from fellow reviewers, fans, or connoisseurs of the genre. The movie had a long, tortured history, from being made in 2009 and then getting hung up in some kind of distribution limbo for a few years before becoming one of the most overhyped horror theatrical releases of 2012. I recall reading some pre-publicity about how it would "turn the horror genre upside down in the way that SCREAM did in 1996." SCREAM was saavy, suspenseful, and respectful of the genre it self-referenced while delivering the slasher goods. It became a blockbuster classic of suspense! So my expectations for this movie were high---probably way too high! THE CABIN IN THE WOODS is not really a spin on slasher movies, but more of the "teens going to party in the woods and being killed" genre. This would include (but not be limited to) movies like the first two EVIL DEAD flicks, CABIN FEVER, and WRONG TURN. Strangely, the trailer reveals most of the film's big twists in one of the most blatant SPOILER SPOILERS I've ever witnessed! So going in, if you've seen the trailer...you KNOW that there's a TWILIGHT ZONE twist or three coming right up. THE CABIN IN THE WOODS starts out SLOW, and I do mean S-L-O-W, trying to set up the ongoing "big twist", the cliche characters, and the general scenario all at once. It takes FOREVER for any kind of action to get going, and I'm talking the halfway point here---things don't really start to happen until the 40 minute mark! And what we get is pretty much a mixture of EVIL DEAD LITE and a higher-budgeted remake of THE VIDEO DEAD. Then the trailer twist explanations come, they throw in a bit of *SPOILER HERE* HALLOWEEN III: SEASON OF THE WITCH with Sigourney Weaver mimicking the Dan O'Herlihy role (and not nearly as wicked, evil, and passionate as Mr. O' Herlihy played it) and BANG! Roll the end credits with the classic NINE INCH NAILS tune LAST. Now all is not lost here- the zombies looks pretty cool (in that updating THE VIDEO DEAD kind of way), the gore is fairly gruesome (but routine), there's a bit of seeing naughty girl Anna Hutchison naked, and there's a sequence in the movie that pays homage to a bunch of classic '80's and '90's limited theatrical and direct-to-video gems like EVIL DEAD 2, KILLER KLOWNS, CRITTERS, HELLRAISER, THE HOWLING...you get the idea, the list could go on forever and it would probably take more than a couple of views to catch them all. While all this is kind of "retro neat" the movie itself kind of just fizzled out like a flat soda for me...I was left with the taste of a something good, but there was no kick to it. Also, unlike in SCREAM, which had decent suspense and characters you really cared about, THE CABIN IN THE WOODS completely missed these important marks. When is Hollywood going to understand that JUMP SCARES are even more cliche than homaging movies of a bygone era? The good parts certainly didn't equal the entire overall experience, and I was left a bit disappointed, to be honest. You can do a lot worse these days than THE CABIN IN THE WOODS, but just don't go in expecting the world.

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Rating: 2.2 out of 10.0 - 5 votes cast total
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