What happens when 5 good-looking youths go away to a secluded cabin in the woods for a weekend? Cinematic blandness? In the words of my wife, "We've seen this movie already." But, oh no. No you haven't. Not like this.
Writer/Director Drew Goddard (Cloverfield, Lost, Buffy, Angel) and Producer Joss Whedon bring us an amazing deconstruction of the slasher/horror drama, adding in elements of dystopian corporate paranoia, office comedy, and every element of fantasy horror I could possibly imagine.
I have been prohibited from posting any spoilers or from revealing any non-credited cast so as not to ruin the surprises (for example, Bill Murray in Zombieland)-- and truly, if you just know the basics of the film, you'll like it even more. So this is a completely spoiler-free review. You don't want this movie spoiled.
The good news is from the first 20 minutes of the film you start to get what's going on. And everything unravels from there.
Let me ask you: what are you afraid of? What scares you? What horror trope do you love?
It's in there. Zombies? Werewolves? Bats? Snakes? Clowns? Ghosts? The Evil That Men Do? It's ALL in there. In fact, the only major thing I never saw was vampires. How does it all get in there and not seem like a crowded mess? You'll see. And it doesn't feel false or gimmicky one bit. Just pure awesomeness.
The other great thing about this movie is not just how scary it is, but how funny it is. Bradley Whitford is amazing and incredibly hilarious. You ever wanted to see bong used as a weapon? You want to see the best use of a unicorn in any movie ever?
And finally, there's a great element of self-awareness in the film. It's very keen on what it's doing, but it delivers without spending too much time winking at the audience.
I mentioned Bradley Whitford, but this cast all around is great. Chris Hemsworth delivers another awesome, charismatic performance. Franz Kranze (Topher from Dollhouse) also puts in an awesome performance as a wise-crackin' stoner.
Just go see this movie. See the hell out of it. Then go see it again and bring your friends along. Loads of fun.
3 1/2 stars