I have a problem: I am a diehard horror movie fan, but the prospect of spooky ghosts haunting my house causes me to lose sleep every night. Can you see how this makes my life difficult?

I also have a problem in that I’m a huge smartass who can usually predict what’s going to happen in any horror movie based on oft-regurgitated formulas. This is why I loved Cabin in the Woods; it stayed one step ahead of its audience by embracing every horror movie stereotype from the very beginning. I won’t get into the details of the plot, because its absurdity is something I think everyone should experience themselves. But here are the basics:

A group of college-aged friends played by attractive actors (all pushing 30) sets off for a fun weekend at handsome-jock Curt’s family cabin…in the woods. That’s always a bad idea. It’s creaky, cold, and contains a cellar full of abandoned Victorian knick-knacks. The group all fit the usual roles: the whore, the athlete, the nerd, the goofy stoner and the virgin. What they don’t know is that their actions and environment are being manipulated and controlled by a top-secret organization. The gorier, the better. The closer to horror movie standards (one friend refuses to believe anything weird is happening, the virgin somehow escapes again and again), the more glee the scientists in the control room derive. These kids are meant to die. But why? I suggest you watch because even I didn’t see the reason coming.

Cabin in the Woods is compelling horror fare, probably because it wasn’t helmed by someone who typically dwells in the horror movie world. The film was written, and produced, by everyone’s favorite person: Joss Whedon. While Whedon, of course, is the man behind Buffy the Vampire Slayer, he is now known for superhero ventures like The Avengers and Doctor Horrible. His time spent away from doom and gloom has given him a fresh perspective on what makes a horror movie work, especially for those who are a little jaded after four Paranormal Activity’s.

And don’t get me wrong – it’s actually pretty scary! My poor friend, attempting to sleep with his head on my lap, can attest that I jumped at least twice.

-Samantha Wilson


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