12. The Cabin in the Woods (2012)
Director: Drew Goddard
Stars: Chris Hemsworth, Kristen Connolly, Anna Hutchinson, Fran Kranz, Jesse Williams, Richard Jenkins, Bradley Whitford, Amy Acker
Yes, first-time director Drew Goddard’s The Cabin in the Woods isn’t even out yet (we’re still a day away from its nationwide theatrical debut), and, indeed, its inclusion here instantly knocks off an older, more established genre classic. But just wait until you see the damn thing.
Cabin’s endlessly meta script celebrates and sends up nearly every horror movie cliché known to man, and it does so with an admirable sophistication that’s cleverly masked by sheer anarchy and wonderful goofiness. Much of the film’s humor aims directly at know-it-all horror fans, with its biggest laughs addressing topics like Japan’s one-time dominance over Hollywood (remember these two words: “happy frog”) and the neverending big-screen absence of a certain creature from a specifically colored lagoon.
Yet, fortunately, Goddard and co-writer Joss Whedon don’t let their fanboy sides get in the way of accessible, all-quadrants humor. You don’t know who Pinhead is to appreciate The Cabin in the Woods, but it sure will help.