Weekend Forecast for April 13-15, 2012

By Reagen Sulewski

April 13, 2012

Look out! The cabin in the woods is gonna get you!

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We're officially into the pre-summer slow down, with studios holding back films they actually think have potential for those summer months. That doesn't necessarily mean the weekend is without quality, but let's just put it this way – one of this week's films should have come out in 2009.

That film is The Cabin in the Woods, a reductionist and highly meta- horror movie from the Joss Whedon factory. Originally filmed over three years ago, it fell victim to a studio battle over an aborted 3D conversion, and then a bankruptcy proceeding that delayed it indefinitely. Now, with The Avengers making Joss Whedon a better known name (though it's actually directed by LOST scribe Drew Goddard) and one of its stars having found a franchise of his own, it's worthwhile to dust this off and put it into theaters.

Most reviews are highlighting the need to go in as cold as possible for this film, so I'll do it the courtesy of describing it as little as possible. It is being advertised as a science fiction tinged take on the usual “teens in the woods” horror film, and presented as a commentary on them, in that usual Whedony way. Not an out and out comedy like Scream, it's not without humor, but mostly it's going for scares and for screwing with the audience's head.


One thing that's worked in the film's favor – three years ago, Chris Hemsworth wouldn't have been nearly the draw he is now. Last year's Thor vaulted him into superstardom, though the jury's still out as to whether he has any appeal beyond that. Unfortunately for the film, none of his co-stars has had the same luck in the intervening years, and they're all still relatively anonymous. Still, Thor! Hey kids, Thor! I exaggerate a little but that's a lot of the film's ad campaign.

Luckily, the quality of the film appears to be there to back up the mystery-filled ads. Reviews are almost universally positive, which almost never happens for horror films. This horror film in particular could have been sensitive to review slippage with its delay in getting to the screen. It turns out this is a bit of a hidden gem. In the meantime, however, teenagers getting stabbed has given way to found-footage horror, though that too may be running out of steam. Horror audiences looking for an alternative to Paranormal Activity may give this a chance, to the tune of about $17 million this weekend.

April's theme of “wait, who asked for this” continues with The Three Stooges, as directed by the Farrelly Brothers, who have just totally given up now. Adapting the classic slapstick comedy team from the 1930s-50s into modern times really just seems like Bad Idea Jeans writ large, but there's not a single intellectual property that won't be given a shot, so here we go. The roles of Larry, Moe and Curly go to Sean Hayes, Chris Diamantopoulos and Will Sasso (aka Jack, “Who?” and “Who?”), and they're placed in a fairly classic plot situation for the original trio – their orphanage is being sold and they need to come up with some scheme to save it, preferrably involving eye-gouging and windmill punches. A few other recognizable names are on hand, including Jane Lynch, Jennifer Hudson and swimsuit model Kate Upton as nuns, Sofia Vergara as the evil land developer, and the cast of Jersey Shore as themselves, which is reason enough to burn the negatives right now.

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