At this point, it's no secret that I'm a sucker for horror movies, but this one takes the cake. This is one of the funnest horror movies I've ever seen (yes, I might even like it more than Jennifer's Body, which is a statement I haven't yet uttered about a horror film until now). Not only was The Cabin in the Woods a celebration of all things horror, it was clever, shocking, and different. It gushed (pun intended?) with originality, a rarity in contemporary horror.
In the era of the postmodern smarty-pants viewer, well versed in genre constructions, we are in the age of meta-horror. It seems that every film since Scream has tried to point out its own constructedness, paying homage to the horror genre and referencing the horror conventions that have come before. The Cabin in the Woods (we're talking the 2012 version here, of course) forces this agenda to a new level, pushing the purpose, commentary, and conversation of contemporary horror. This isn't self-referentiality for the sake of street cred-- this is self-referentiality that propels itself and the genre to something new, one of the markers of a great work.
And in case you were wondering, yes Joss Whedon is an incredibly talented writer who has grown a lot since Buffy and Angel. Moments of serious horror and gore are undercut with witty and thought-provoking humor that fits into a story that pushes its premise to its limits. I can't wait to see what this guy does with The Avengers. To all you nervous, Whedon nay-sayers who worried if he'd be able to shine on the silver screen, I just want to give you an inelegant and irritating (but well deserved) "I told ya so."