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SXSW Review Capsule: 'The Cabin in the Woods'

Photo of Steve Greene By Steve Greene | Criticwire March 10, 2012 at 4:15PM

No one would blame you if you chose not to read any further.
1

No one would blame you if you chose not to read any further.

By all indication, the less you know about SXSW festival opener "The Cabin in the Woods," the better. (Having not seen it yet myself, it has taken every atom of my spoiler-avoidance abilities to put this post together while keeping myself pure.) Directed by Drew Goddard and co-written by the ascending King of the Universe, Joss Whedon, the tale centers around five kids who go to a cabin. At the risk of incurring the wrath of moviegoers everywhere, that's where this plot synopsis shall stop. 

A still from "The Cabin in the Woods."
A still from "The Cabin in the Woods."

Over at Movieline, Jen Yamato has preemptively redacted 29 key pieces of plot so that any reader might preserve the wonder of plot discovery. (Whedon fans can look forward to using that review as a wacky version of Cult Movie Mad-Libs.) Katey Rich also took painstaking care in her CinemaBlend review to give only as much detail as needed, indicating "the generic title gives way to a complete deconstruction of the horror genre. Believe it or not, it's OK to know that-- that's the premise of the film, not a spoiler." 

Variety's Peter Debruge joined the chorus of critics praising "Cabin" for its spirited inventiveness. "Not since Scream has a horror movie subverted the expectations that accompany the genre to such wicked effect," Debruge explains. "The less auds know going in, the more satisfying the payoff will be for this long-delayed, much-anticipated shocker." And Indiewire's Eric Kohn adds that it "ranks among one of the most wryly self-aware works of American pop culture entertainment in years."

Meanwhile, there are a few people (including an unofficial "Cabin" fan account) who are upset at The Hollywood Reporter, whose less-than-impressed reaction may have given away a few too many of the twists. Proceed with extreme caution, but if you are one of those people who dread mystery (or weren't all that thrilled about seeing it in the first place), you can read THR's review here.

So beware in seeking out information about "The Cabin in the Woods." Undoubtedly, there will be some critics who will find fault with certain elements of how the film unfolds. But perhaps this might be one title to hold off on gauging the critical response until after everyone's had a fair chance to experience the madness for themselves. We'll keep you posted.

Instant Twittervese Reaction:

"You all must go see The Cabin in the Woods. ALL MUST. Consider it a moral imperative." - Matt Fowler, IGN

"Don't watch a trailer, don't read a review by anyone you don't know/trust, but, holy bejabers, see CABIN IN THE WOODS." - James Rocchi, MSN/The Playlist

"CABIN IN THE WOODS just played to rapturous applause and buzzing excitement. They loved it." - Scott Weinberg, FEARnet

"Cabin in the Woods...yawn." - Neil Miller, FilmSchoolRejects

This article is related to: Review Capsules, The Cabin in the Woods


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