(**caution: may contain spoilers**)
There are two potential ways to view Cabin in the Woods, and two ways in which it may have been constructed, as entertainment or as criticism. It attempts to make the most of both and, unfortunately, is less for it.
The concept of the film, established in the opening scene, makes the first half feel pointless as characters stereotyped by other characters play out a pattern called predictable by those same characters. While this is clever as criticism it’s not entertaining. Meanwhile knowing that such characters exist as criticism, which is the only interesting element of the first half, makes the second half, which is more interesting, less entertaining by ruining the reveal.
Instead of becoming a clever, unexpected twist on the horror genre, Cabin begins with a clever twist and then follows a predictable pattern. Granted, a pattern of its own choosing, but a predictable pattern nonetheless. [subscribe2]