"A somewhat satirical take on the horror genre, stupidly ridiculous but rather good fun..."

When purchasing a ticket for a film named "The Cabin in the Woods", it's incredibly difficult not to anticipate a mediocre, archetypal horror flick, but Drew Goddard's production couldn't be more far from your initial beliefs - although the beauty of The Cabin in the Woods, is that a mediocre, archetypal horror flick is exactly what they want you to expect.

Taking on the low-budget horror movie guise, we follow five college friends, vacating to a quiescent and remote cabin in the woods for a short and relaxing break, as the macho Curt (Chris Hemsworth) has the keys to the property, owned by his cousin.

Joining Curt is his girlfriend Jules (Anna Hutchinson), and close friends Dana (Kristen Connolly), Holden (Jesse Williams) and stoner Marty (Fran Kranz), and although anticipating a quiet weekend away, the group are attacked by ravenous zombies, and desperately have to fight to stay alive. However, little do they know that their actions are being monitored, and their fate controlled by the seemingly sadistic operators Richard (Richard Jenkins) and Steve (Bradley Whitford). But will the group discover that what is happening to them is being controlled, and will they work out why such horrors are taking place to them in particular?

Acting as a hybrid between films such as Saw and The Truman Show, with some added Videodrome for good measure, The Cabin in the Wood is a somewhat satirical take on the horror genre, stupidly ridiculous but rather good fun. Although amidst the absurdity within the plot is an underlying socio-political message concerning contemporary culture, and the public's thirst for graphic extremity, symbolised in the perverse taking of bets from those controlling the destiny of the group - of who will be killed off first. Yet such provocative messages are counteracted by the frivolous nature to Goddard's film, which appears incredibly tongue-in-cheek throughout, bearing a flippancy which certainly lets it off the hook in a few instances which would otherwise be deemed as merely being poor cinema.

The Cabin in the Woods is certainly a unique and brave piece of filmmaking, mixing around four genres within one film. There are a disproportionate amount of twists and turns, which does make the feature quite difficult to comprehend at points, particularly the finale where much is revealed, little making any sense, mind. Although it doesn't really need to, Goddard, alongside the highly prestigious co-writer Joss Whedon - the brains behind Buffy the Vampire Slayer - has created a rapturous and thrilling picture that plays on its preposterousness, to a positive effect.

Whedon, who has a quite fanatical following, earning cult-like status amongst many, has evidently written a film for his fan base, who are mostly going to adore his latest offering, yet whether The Cabin in the Woods can appeal to a greater audience is another matter. Whedon is playing to his strengths, as the man who co-wrote Toy Story and US sitcom Roseanne is delving into his comedic routes, whilst also being masterfully overstated and over-the-top, which could seem as being too ridiculous but it's all part of the Whedon experience, and one that his fans will lap up.

Although in this respect it does feel as though it has been done before, and despite being bound to enjoy it, the Whedon fan base won't be too surprised by this particular feature. And if you aren't especially a fan of his work, you may have to adjust your sense of perceptions to take this film with a pinch of salt and enjoy it for what it's worth, as a nonsensical yet stimulating feature, which is difficult not to enjoy. It may appear to be an ordinary horror, but if there was ever an instance of not judging a book by its cover, then this is it.