Although it ain’t no AMERICAN WEREWOLF IN LONDON, CABIN IN THE WOODS is a clever, fun twist on probably the most overused staple in the horror genre (its title). The characters are smart and likable (even Fran Kranz’ character, the typical annoying stoner, didn’t get under my skin like most of his counterparts in other films). Plus Anna Hutchison does about the best seduction I’ve ever seen to a stuffed wolf’s head (which is saying a lot; I grew up in Northern BC).

If you’re not in the know, CABIN IN THE WOODS is about five kids who go up to an isolated shack and are besieged by supernatural forces. The movie’s shrewdness lies not in the set-up, but with why so many of these isolated locations in horror films are paranormal death-traps. There are greater evils at work in the form of an indifferent bureaucracy and dark, ancient Lovecraftian gods.

If the film has any weakness, it’s with the lighting. There was a whole section where I couldn’t make out a damned thing (and I was watching on Blu Ray). I don’t know if that also compounded that the family of undead red-neck psychopaths was played blandly at best. I could never tell how many of them there actually were or what they were wielding for weapons. Truth be told, like one of the company button-pushers, I would’ve preferred to see the Mer-Man attack.

There was also a plot hole left unanswered about why the tunnel didn’t blow up initially. Was the glitch in the system caused by the Elder Gods? Were they getting tired of the yearly ritual and just wanting to fuck with the show?

My pal Rick threw me a theory (a very plausible theory) that CABIN is a metaphor for filmmaking and the horror fans that consume them. Can’t dispute that. As a horror movie enthusiast, I can tell you I carry both a god complex and a sick curiosity in watching fictional characters croak.