***1/2 (out of four)
Wow; the ending of “The Cabin in the Woods” rewards patience like few movies rarely do. The crazy, bloody sequence practically epitomizes “give the audience what they want.” And the fanboy contingent that turns out for this project from producer/co-writer Joss Whedon (“Buffy the Vampire Slayer”) will have all the more reason to bow at the throne of the cult hero.
All that should be said about the plot is that a quintet of college kids (including Chris “Thor” Hemsworth) heads to the titular cabin, while we see two desk types (Bradley Whitford, Richard Jenkins) running some government-type project from a NASA-like control station. What they’re up to remains a treat for you to discover, as director/co-writer Drew Goddard (who wrote “Cloverfield”) cooks up the ultimate, awesome answer to “Why are so many horror movies so formulaic?”
Once the madness kicks in after some momentum-slowing back-and-forth between the control center and the woods, “Cabin” escalates into spectacular mayhem. Fortunately the laughs start at the beginning, especially thanks to a stoner (Fran Kranz) who could be smarter than he seems—but also might be too high to believe his own suspicions.
The movie may be funnier than it is scary, but for the right crowd, this collection of nightmares will feel like the best dream ever.
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