The Cabin in the Woods is the product of Joss Whedon (Buffy the Vampire Slayer) and Drew Goddard (Cloverfield). They both wrote the script and Goddard directed. I can definitely see Whedon's mark on the story, so if you don't like his style, The Cabin in the Woods probably won't work for you. I am totally unfamiliar with Goddard, but this film was a great first impression. There's one scene, where a character goes out into the woods and looks over his shoulder, because it is a little creepy outside. The audience can see the monster weaving in and out of the shadows, but the character just misses her. It's beautifully framed. And I can say that for several scenes in this movie - the way things move in and out of frame is very well done.
One thing The Cabin in the Woods does very well is that it doesn't fight the cast's charisma. In too many horror films you just don't care if everyone dies or if anyone escapes the monster. Chris Hemsworth is the movie's only big name (though he wasn't when the movie was filmed), and anyone whose seen Thor and The Avengers knows he's a pretty jovial presence. He's the alpha male of the group and a football player, but he's also shown to be smart, both well read and a good problem solver. After all, the boxes horror movies put people into are ridiculous. The Cabin in the Woods shatters those stereotypes. At the same time, it offers a reason for them.
|Fran Kranz as Marty, gif by http://crowdedwithangelstonight.tumblr.com/|
And, that's about as much as I can say without giving anything away. Now, I actually think some of the "spoiler" arguments around this movie are dumb. It would be just as fun if you know what's coming. But at the same time, there's a pleasure in keeping mum. I'll leave it at this: it's a fun movie and I've been enjoying thinking through the layers.
My final word is to those who don't like gore. The Cabin in the Woods is definitely not torture porn, and while there's quite a bit of gore, most of it is shot in a discretionary way. If you don't like any blood, this isn't the film for you. But there are no over-the-top gross gore scenes, in my opinion.