I've somehow become a Joss Whedon completest having seen the vast majority of his output, but if I have a criticism it is that his writing `voice' is sometimes too loud in his work. The recent `Avengers Assemble' showed that combining Whedon's distinct writing style with strong characters is a great mix, but give him too much leeway and you get `Doll House'. A film that nestles between these two projects is `Cabin in the Woods' and it also sits somewhere between them in terms of quality. Fans of Whedon will know instantly that he co-wrote this film, whilst the few who got to the end of `Angel' may even argue that this is a lost script.
On the surface `Cabin' is an atypical teen slasher movie as a group of teenagers visit a remote cabin in the hopes of some good times and not a grisly death. However, this is a film that is all about beneath the surface and what may actually be going on. This meta look at the horror genre has been food and drink to Whedon since the days of `Buffy' and fans of that series and its spin off `Angel' will gain a lot from this film. Those who found these shows a little knowing and self-satisfying may find `Cabin' more annoying than fun.
Director Drew Goddard (also co-writer) has cards up his sleeve that Whedon could only dream of until recently; an increased budget for one and a great cast that includes Chris Hemsworth, Richard Jenkins and Bradley Whitford. It is a shame then that the scale feels no larger than the TVs shows Whedon worked on. `Serenity' was a film that escaped its small screen roots to be one of the best space operas of the past 10 years, in places `Cabin' feels like it would be better watched on TV. This must come down to Goddard who is unable to lift the scale, too much set based work means the film feels smaller than it is. There is still great fun to be had with the film; it is an interesting premise with some very amusing moments. Fans of Whedon will walk away very happy, others may leave a little confused as to what all the fuss was about.
As the special effects are a little on the ropy side the BluRay is not really needed. The extras include a commentary and a trio of featurettes take a very brief look at making the film.