For a good chunk of The Cabin In The Woods' running time I had the sinking feeling that this much-hyped film just wasn't going to meet my expectations. I wasn't disliking what I was seeing but yet I wasn't quite loving it either. It was full of clever dialogue and as events unfolded the film wasn't suffering for any lack of intelligence but yet I wasn't fully pulled in. I felt that the level of genre commentary in Joss Whedon and director Drew Goddard's script was more glib than trenchant. But at a certain point, that changed and The Cabin In The Woods became pretty much everything I was hoping for and then some. I don't know if it ever got any deeper (maybe a notch more clever) but it sure got a lot more gonzo and that was enough for me.
I hesitate to get into any spoilers so early into Cabin's (hopefully long lasting) run but suffice it to say, this movie is well worth any horror fan's time. My advice would be to avoid any further articles or reviews and just go see it with as little advance knowledge as possible. I almost wish that the marketing hadn't given away the fact that there's an outside group at work in the film but as it's something that's revealed as soon as the movie begins it's hard to call it a spoiler. There's no real twists per se to be revealed but there is a sense of surprise as the story escalates that should be preserved.
On the downside, the scare factor isn't very high at all (some might even call it non-existent), which is a slight disappointment, but by the climax I'm betting that most fans will feel there's been ample compensation for the lack of full-on terror. I know I left satisfied, at least. In interviews, Whedon described Cabin in grand terms of being "the horror film to end all horror films" and while no such beast will ever exist, Whedon and Goddard clearly had a ball trying to create it. If only every filmmaker working in the genre could show as much love and enthusiasm for it.