The Cabin In the Woods is the kind of movie that is determined to be different from all the other slasher/horror movies of the past. But in trying to be different it just borrows from one movie here and another movie there. There are generous doses of blood, gore, drug use and comedy with a brief scene of nudity just for good measure. Then you get a plot twist here and a plot twist there; some are surprising and some are not. And that is how the movie is as a whole; some parts are good and some parts are not.
The basic premise is that five friends -- a jock, a tease, a virgin, a brainiac and a stoner -- drive up into the mountains to spend a few days at a remote cabin. You know as soon as they meet the deranged looking mountain man when they stop for gas that something ominous is on the horizon, and it is. This movie doesn't spend much time setting up the danger, it just plunges into the first death at a rapid pace.
The young cast of actors is mostly forgettable. Fran Kranz has the most ambitious role as Marty, the stoner. Marty isn't the most likeable character but Franz makes him the most consistent. Chris Hemsworth plays Curt the jock. Since the movie was made several years ago he had not yet grabbed audiences' attention with his role as Thor. Therefore his role in this film is not the lead by any means.
Jesse Williams, of Grey's Anatomy fame, is miscast as Holden the brainiac. His performance is so low key it could virtually put the audience to sleep. Anna Hutchison is Jules, the tease. You know she is trying to be sexy because she has just dyed her hair blonde. Kristin Connelly is Dana the virgin. You know this because she is a little bit mousy and is embarrassed to be caught in her underwear.
Richard Jenkins and Bradley Whitford have substantial roles in the movie but to tell about their characters would give away some of the surprises in the plot. There are some other cameos that surprise the audience.
Joss Whedon and Drew Goddard of "Buffy" fame co-wrote the script and Goddard directed the movie. You expect the unexpected when these two are involved and in this case you aren't disappointed. You get more quirkiness than you want or need.
The movie is rated R for profanity, violence and nudity.
The Cabin In the Woods is a fairly entertaining movie but it could have been better if Whedon and Goddard hadn't tried so hard to be different. In the end when all the elements from all the different movies they are copying come together, it just ends up being one big mess.
I scored "Cabin In the Woods" a potpourri 6 out of 10.