It's practically impossible to review/ critique this movie without spoiling it but seeing how much I really enjoyed what the filmmakers did with this movie, I'll do my best to not give anything away.
From the first time I heard of this film and them saw the trailer I felt as if I was being offered another hole in my head. My opinion was the last thing the archives of Hollywood needed was another teen scream movie that takes place in a abandoned cabin in the middle if the woods. Not since 1981s cult classic The Evil Dead” has anything worthy to be watched been brought to the table. Ever since that film, every movie in the genre has resorted to and overused the gimmicks that the genre invented, perfected and eventually made cliché.
For those who remember that movie know it was more than a straight forward horror film. The fact that the film as a body of work was oddly aware of itself and didn't aim strictly for chills and gore, is part of its enduring charm. It's one of those films that you either get or you don't. "Cabin in the Woods" shares the exact same characteristics that will make you either love or hate it.
Another thing the two films share is great writers. Evil Dead was written by the legendary Sam Rami. CITWs had the great writing team of Drew Goddard (LOST) and Joss Whedon (Buffy the Vampire Slayer).
Now, the fact that Goddard who also directed CITWs, was one of the people behind the "Oh snap! I didn't see that coming" phenomenon that was "LOST", should have given me a huge clue that CITWs isn't what it seems on the surface.
Bruce Campbell was another key element that made "The Evil Dead" such a success. Casting in CITWs also plays a pivotal part in making the movie work. Even the supporting actors help in lending credibility to the overall feel of the film. Richard Jenkins (Step Brothers, Let Me In) and Bradley Whitford (The West Wing) are pitch perfect proving the old adage; there are no small roles, only small actors. The main stars of the movie are mostly unknowns with the exception of Chris Hemsworth (Thor) who actually surprised me by actually getting and providing what the role required.
The Aristocrats is an infamous joke that been millions of times by thousands off comedians. It's been said that the mark of a skilled comic is how artfully they deliver and tell the joke that everybody already knows the (arguably unfunny) punchline.
”The Cabin in the Woods” is the equivalent of that joke.
As I said, there will be people who will absolutely hate this movie because they don't get it. But there are also people who will delight in this movie as one does when their the ones on the right side of an "inside joke."