There’s an interesting moment about twenty minutes into Drew Goddard’s debut film, The Cabin in the Woods (co-scripted by Joss Whedon) where an inanely bad CGI bird comes gliding down into the open space outside a mountain tunnel and crashes into some kind of invisible electrified grid imprisoning any living thing that travels through the tunnel. As if the weirdly mundane pre-credit sequence featuring Richard Jenkins and Bradley Whitford wasn’t enough to clue viewers in…this moment reminds us that something conspiratorially massive is afoot. Is this “snarky and attractive college kids are about to get stalked and killed in the woods” flick really just some sadistic reality show? Is it all just an overly elaborate set-up for a modern-day spin on yee olde human sacrifice game?
But the bad CGI bird hitting the electrified grid is deliberately misleading because it doesn’t prepare you at all for Goddard’s gleefully bonkers denoument…a rollicking special-effects laden and gore-strewn twenty minutes of balls-to-the-walls horror show fun. I don’t know how else to describe it but to say it’s as if the “Imaginationland” episodes of South Park went live-action meta-horror. The whole thing is wonderfully paced to lull you into thinking it’s going through the genre motions only to defy every expectation you have of a modern horror film. Continue reading