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The Cabin in the Woods (2012)
Smart & funny Horror deconstruction
Horror/comedy is a difficult thing to get right. For every "Evil Dead II" there are a dozen movies that try and fail. Genre deconstruction is even harder to do well. It usually ends up being dry and at the very best, clever without being effective.
"Cabin in the Woods", however, succeeds on all levels. The direction is tight, fast and tense where it needs to be, and yet has a deft comedic timing almost unheard of for a first-time director. Of course, the script, by director Drew Goddard and producer Joss Whedon, is so sharp and funny that it would have been difficult to ruin it completely. But quite the opposite - the direction gets every last laugh, thrill, and thoughtful subversion of expectations just right.
The acting is note-perfect from top to bottom, with each character being asked to play the archetype expected of their role in the film, as well as the self-aware humans they actually are. This high-wire act could have fallen flat, but instead becomes one of the most effective parts of the movie. Likewise, the makeup and special effects are scary and brilliant in their own right, while also walking the fine line of parody but never quite stepping over it.
This is one of my favorite movies in years, of any genre. I highly recommend it.