What you don’t know — at least initially — is why they are under surveillance by a clandestine global organisation. No sooner the co-ed quintet has settled down all hell breaks loose turning their trip into a backwoods nightmare.
Full of allusions to movies ranging from The Truman Show (a key character is even named Truman) and The Hunger Games to the Scream series, The Cabin in the Woods is suspenseful, chock-a-block with surprises and has more scares than all the Friday the 13th movies put together.
Making his directorial debut, Drew Goddard, with assistance from his cohort scenarist Joss Whedon, achieves an exemplary fusion of horror, humour and science-fiction while undermining genre conventions and audience expectations alike.
Taking an apocalyptic turn, the astonishing last half hour is laced with gleefully gruesome violence. Meanwhile, an iconic actress (sorry, but we aren’t telling who) fetches up during the closing moments to offer some sort of explanation for the whole bloody shebang.
Advice: The Cabin in the Woods is meant for those with a cast iron stomach. Others would be better off sampling more family-friendly fare.