"The Cabin in the Woods" turns horror genre upside down, critics say
(CBS News) Positive reviews and word-of-mouth may power Lionsgate's "The Cabin in the Woods" at the box office this weekend, although it's unlikely to knock "The Hunger Games" out of the top perch.
The much-buzzed-about horror film, about five friends vacationing together in a remote location, features a screenplay co-written by Joss Whedon that puts an unexpected twist on the horror-film genre.
Here's what some of the reviewers are saying:
A.O. Scott of The New York Times: "Dismissing the recent vogue for technically crude, fake-real shockers in the "Paranormal Activity" manner - and sidestepping the gory sadism of the torture subgenre of the "Saw" and "Hostel" pictures - this movie evokes the playful pseudosophistication of the "Scream" franchise.
Los Angeles Times critic Betsy Sharkey: "Because, really, "The Cabin in the Woods" is an inside joke - a one-way ticket to all the genre's worst nightmares told in a very tongue and cheeky "Buffy the Vampire Slayer" ('92 movie, TV series, multiple spinoffs, all conceived by Whedon) style. The laughs come easily, the screams not so much. It's as if the filmmakers got so wrapped up in the satire they forgot to include the intense sensation of rising dread that creates all the thrills and chills that are part of the attraction."
Roger Ebert of the Chicago Sun-Times: With the warning, "You won't see the end coming," Ebert writes, "This is not a perfect movie; it's so ragged, it's practically constructed of loose ends. But it's exciting because it ventures so far off the map. One imagines the filmmakers chortling with glee as they devise first one bizarre development and then another in a free-for-all for their imaginations. They establish rules only to violate them. "
Rolling Stone magazine critic Peter Travers: "Cabin keeps springing scary surprises. And it's wicked, twisted fun until the violence starts nagging at you. The gods and monsters of the movie never question their appetite for gutting pretty young things. But you'll question yours for sure before the film's shocking end."
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