Part Friday the 13th and part Rosemary's Baby / The Wicker Man, The Cabin in the Woods is 2 different concepts blended together with each genre true to its roots... but that is also to its fault. Without giving too much away, the hook is the teens-in-a-cabin slasher film and as the trailer for the movie suggests, the other involves folks in the control room. The movie goes back and forth between these two worlds and very gently lets you in on the greater plot line a little bit at a time. Eventually, the worlds collide in ways that you aren't expecting.
I made sure that I stayed away from reviews like this one because I could tell that this would be a movie about surprise. That could not have been more true. Still, I think that it is safe to say that unless someone spells the whole concept out for you, I can guarantee that you will be surprised. Looking around now, this movie is lauded because of its originality. While that is truly refreshing, it is my opinion that it should not be at expense of actual characters. You see, the characters in this movie are given reason to be obvious and one dimensional because of a plot device (which kind of half explains why). The acting is mostly bad and the script is even worse. The control room folks are way more interesting and those scenes are better acted, as well. But again, all of this has an alleged excuse for being the way it is. On one hand, there is some signs of brilliance in the writing. On the other, it is plainly obvious that it is intended for the tongue-in-cheek dialog to make you skip over all of those plot holes that they have created. It doesn't really all make any sense, in the end. To me, movies are at least as much about character as they are story, so I see it as kind of like the writers using their smarts in one way only to be lazy in another. There is absolutely no excuse for a stoner character that is almost exactly Shaggy from Scooby-Doo mixed with Owen Wilson. It is just so cringe-worthy for me. Chris Hemsworth (Thor) is actually much better and more interesting as the jock than the rest of the college kids combined, but then, I'm sure he is paid more to be in this.
This movie is fun at times and I can see it gaining cult status at some point. I can't think of many movies that get this much better by the end, but then again, this one really starts out at rock bottom, making you want to leave the theater because of how truly awful it is at the start... and probably at the middle too. Again, I understand that it is aware of how bad it is, but still expect a lot of groans and eye-rolls. I have to wonder how many people will rent the movie only to turn it off before getting to the greater story. There is one part when the last act gets good, where I really wish that they would have stayed away from CGI. I probably should say no more about that. Computer generated baddies just aren't that scary.
Catch a matinee or get ripped off by regular theater ticket prices, as this one is not worth a premium, in my opinion. It is fun if you are in the right mood to withstand the cheese factor and also want to see an interesting plot evolve from that.
Overall: 6 out of 10