After the glorious slasher revolution of the 80s, with some genuinely frightening and original horror fare being released, things have gone stale in this movie category. Even the mighty John Carpenter seems to have lost his magic after The Thing, which was not only pants-poopingly scary but also had some great tension conveyed by the actors and unforgettable special effects. Gorno had a long run (and seems to still be running), but most of its representative movies were/are poorly conceived, even more poorly imitated, and just plain gross.
Thankfully, Joss Whedon has produced a fantastic horror movie that stays away from camp and torture porn, and even manages to make the audience feel conflicted about whether or not they want the protagonists to survive.
Five characters, all cliches without being so (examples: a sensitive jock, a pot-smoking nerd, a demure hottie) travel to the title location for a weekend break. The actors portray them as honestly as possible, never straying into cheesiness. The heroes get hacked down one by one, so there isn't a huge body count, but one of the strengths of the movies lies with doing so much with so little in the way of location and cast. As the five friends are dispatched, there are frequent cutaway scenes to what appears to be an underground bunker of an office with two somewhat apathetic buttoned-down types surveilling the events unfolding in the cabin, and even contriving them to some degree. What kind of twisted desk jockeys are these guys? And why are they so indifferent to the point of laughing at the heroes' misfortune?
My only criticism of this highly creative and genre-bending film is that it's perhaps a bit too short on genuine scares. It nonetheless has a high replay value for its humour and originality, and will surely be enjoyed numerous times with amateurs of horror films.