The Cabin in the Woods fits perfectly into the Whedonverse. It skewers the horror genre and its conventions in a clever and laugh filled fashion. Like a really fun episode of Buffy or Angel that goes places that the show couldn’t. It plays with the classic horror movie genre with a mysterious quality straight out of the movie The Cube…. but with Buffy style laughs. It basically serves as a way of explaining all of the horror movies that we have seen over the years…..All of the unexplained decisions that the characters of those horror movies make. It is like if the Scooby Gang went to a spooky cabin in the woods and left Scooby at home. Shaggy is definitely there in the form of Fran Kranz (previously from the Dollhouse) playing the geeky stoner Marty. As a fan of Buffy and Angel I got exactly what I wanted out of this movie going experience. It meet all of my expectations by creating creepy settings and scary moments and then having great moments of laughter and fun in place of scares. It captured the horror that it is skewering and then cooked the kabobs and added a little extra sauce.
The big supposed twist of the movie is technically revealed in the first few minutes of the movie and that really doesn’t matter. It isn’t a movie that solely relies on a twist at the end like the so-so films of M Knight. The twist is just a fun original idea that allows us to look at the horror genre in a different way. The thing I like about Joss Whedon’s stuff is that he teases you and teases you and then pays it off in the end. On Buffy there would be a season long arch ---a mystery behind the season that you would get a hint of –and then another hint and at the end of the season there would be a payoff and the story would move forward to something else. Other shows like Twin Peaks , X-Files and LOST were masters of the tease (and great at times in their run) but they all failed in the big payoff. You need to eventually payoff the audience. Whedon does and this movie does as well. They could have easily ended the movie and left it open for dozens of sequels with different scenarios ---but instead the movie has a big payoff at the end. And I appreciate it.