THE CABIN IN THE WOODS
starring Kristen Connolly, Chris Hemsworth, Anna Hutchison, Fran Kranz
screenplay by Joss Whedon & Drew Goddard
directed by Drew Goddard
starring Guy Pearce, Maggie Grace, Vincent Regan, Peter Stormare
screenplay by Stephen Saint Leger, James Mather & Luc Besson
directed by Saint & Mather
by Walter Chaw SPOILER WARNING IN EFFECT. Drew Goddard's (and Joss Whedon's, you won't be able to forget) unfortunate giant middle finger The Cabin in the Woods takes a shit-eating high-concept only to do nothing interesting with it for about 80 of its 100 minutes. Because the high-concept is the crux of the film and the elbow of the argument, as they say, stop right here if you want to stay a spoiler virgin. For me, I went in not knowing anything about the movie--didn't even see the trailer--on the back of assurances from many respected friends and colleagues that this was, in fact, a must-see for the genre fan. What I should have asked was, "What genre?" The Cabin in the Woods is Scream for what Joe Bob Briggs used to call "Spam in a cabin" flicks, in which a group of nubile youngsters piles into an unreliable junker to spend a fateful weekend in some backwoods hick oasis where they're picked off, one by one, by some combination of demons and Ted Nugent. The difference being that Scream was cold, nihilistic, scary as hell, and a lovely example of the thing it was simultaneously deconstructing. The reason The Cabin in the Woods is neither revolutionary nor "ground-breaking" is that everything it does has already been done, repeatedly and better, and that rather than serving as a sterling example of that which it is trying to pinion (thus establishing its credibility as satire, see?), it's really just another instalment in the live-action Scooby-Doo franchise.