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A bunch of teenagers takes a weekend off in a remote cottage, with plans to indulge in sex, drugs and rock’n’roll. Upon arrival, they start dying. Hardly ever has a film taken the premise of the teenage slasher flick so bluntly and straightforwardly, making sure that halfway through the 90 minutes running time, the game is up. But wait… there are oddities about “The Cabin in the Woods” which you can initially ignore – the audience is given no information on the context of the opening sequence where some cynical lab workers are preparing for a project run (the always fabulous Richard Jenkins and the always smart-talking Bradley Widford, who basically plays his role of White House Deputy Chief of Staff Josh Lyman again, just in a different office, you could call it Black House Chief of Staff…). You could be inclined to ignore this bit, but there are recurring sequences where it becomes clear that the teenagers are somehow the project, and the cabin they are about to visit the set of an elaborate show that is put on. “Truman Show XXX”? Or “House on the Lake Big Brother Edition”? Well, something like that, only with a purpose.

That purpose might be a tad convoluted, but it allows for two nice  parallel strands of narration, where clearly the one taking place in the project control office is better written, more witty, because more over-the-top and with better actors. But the authors are well aware of the clichees they are serving, and the unavoidable “We should stay together” idea the kids develops is immediately countered by the masters’ annoyance, initiating  appropriate countermeasures. These are the authors of a horror flick script that have to make sure the group is split up to be able to deal with them the way they need to deal with them – and they are in a better position than the average “Scream”-like author, because they have safeguards in place, they know their genre…

“The Cabin in the Woods” is fun to watch for anybody who has had his dose of horror films and is sufficiently overdosed by them. It knows all the conventions and pitfalls of the genre and does its best to make them the topic of the film, taking no prisoners in finding diversions and … let’s say “Deus Ex Machina” solutions, even though Deus is not involved, it seems. Not always in the most brilliant fashion, but always with a twinkling eye telling you “Seriously, you are scared of slasher zombie movies? Seriously? You should know better!”

http://www.rottentomatoes.com/m/the_cabin_in_the_woods/

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