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Movie Review: 'The Cabin in the Woods'

The Cabin in the Woods

Starring: Chris Hemsworth, Kristen Connolly, Anna Hutchison, Fran Kranz, Amy Acker, Richard Jenkins and Bradley Whitford.  

Directed by Drew Goddard
Rated R


Joss Whedon’s “loving hate letter” of a film, The Cabin in the Woods, is a more of a tongue-in-cheek hater’s ode to conventional horror films.  Along with first time director, Drew Goddard, this pair has pulled the unthinkable – they reinvented the horror genre one more time.  Why this film sat in limbo for so long is ridiculous.  Now that it’s finally out let’s hope the film is rewarded by moviegoers so we don’t get force-fed any more found-footage-horror-crap films.  From the outside the film appears to be the classic slasher: five young good-looking adults go to a cabin in the woods and bad things happen.  You expect this type of movie to be shockingly scary and while some of you may have nightmares after seeing it, the movie is thrilling and fun.  The film isn’t perfect, yet it’s the best we’ve seen in quite some time.  A true must-see for any true horror aficionado.

The film starts rolling when five college friends set out on the prototypical and nonsensical trip to a remote cabin somewhere far from civilization.  As if college kids really need to go to a remote cabin to smoke pot and have sex. 


With just the right amount of backstory we learn just enough about our group to know that they are fairly standard characters for this kind of movie. We have: Dana - the virgin-like good girl (Kristen Connolly), Curt - the jock (Chris Hemsworth), JulesCurt’s insatiable bubbly girlfriend (Anna Hutchison), Marty – prophetic pothead (Fran Kranz), and Holden (Jesse Williams) – Curt’s single guy who couldn’t resist the lure of Dana’s newly single status.  What we also know is that it is exactly these typecats that had them "selected" in the first place.  Strange things begin to happen as soon as they enter the cabin.

Whedon and Goodard tweaked and twisted every major slasher/horror plotline to the film’s advantage.  They used it against the central characters and also allowed it to be used against the antagonists of the film.  They take a game of cat and mouse and set it on such a grand scale that is really ingenious.  In the current state of horror films, there aren’t many producers who could take such a bold move and make it pay off.  This film had to have that commitment otherwise it would have missed every mark it was aiming for, and their aim was true.

The film gives us everything we love about horror films and by the end you just sit back and absorb the wickedly intense visuals that culminate with its mad monster party ending.  It’s not often that we smile while watching the stuff of nightmares. 


Unlike most slasher/horror flicks where the victims never quite realize why they’re being hunted until the end, our group begins to figure things out, it just doesn’t do them much good.  I can’t tell you much more than that without giving too much away, just like the reason I didn’t mention how Richard Jenkins, Amy Acker and Bradley Whitford fit into the movie.  I’ll just say that they are perfect in their roles and play them with aplomb. 

As I sat and watched this film, here on Friday the 13th, I couldn’t help but think of how a similar setting helped to create the modern slasher film.  It was the vision of writers like my friend, Victor Miller (Friday the 13th) that made this film possible.  This film isn’t a horror film that makes fun of the horror genre like Scream, what it does it borrow a piece from every slasher and horror movie and weaves them together for a thrilling riotous experience.

Reader Comments (2)

You are sooooo off the mark on this movie that its scary (sadly, much more so than the movie itself).

This movie, if done with any seriousness, would have made for the great piece of work you speak of. But sadly, they laugh and joke throughout the whole thing, laughing at even the audience, making you feel like its a joke on you for having even wanted to watch a serious classic teen horror flick with a sci fi twist (which was what the damn trailer promised us!).

One of the biggest problemswith the movie is that the government agency that is supposed to be threatening, isnt, because of the boyish humor the two characters show throughout, and this makes the final reveal seem so underwhelming and untheatening that as the special effects flash wildly about, and the whole world crumbles around the survivors, youre left just twitching in your seat hoping the credits will roll soon so you can get the hell out of the theatre.

if this movie had showed in the trailer that it was a near pure horror comedy, then one would be satisfied with what the movie delivered, though i would not have gone. the "stoner" was hilarious, and the two agents added enough laughs to keep one entertained, but this movie was more of a joke on the horror genre than an ode to it.

So if The Cabin in the Woods had tried to be more like say, The Monster Squad in "playing" with the horror genre while also delivering a thrill ride of scares, it would have been a great movie. But sadly, it didn't, and in the end i just felt like it spit in my face for being a horror fan.

Wait for this on blu-ray to see, and watch it with your friends on a campy horror night movie marathon with this one first, then The Monster Squad, Scream, and lastly zombieland. thats the family it belongs in.

Sunday, April 15, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterJoeMe

I absolutely loved this film and this was the first time in a long time where I smiled coming out of the theater. I thought it was brilliantly crafte and the film has just the right amount of scares and laughs to keep me intrigued for the duration of the film.n I completely disagree with JoeMe about how the film is essentially laughing and spitting on our faces. I felt it showed what horror films were, where they are now, and where they are headed. And shame on you for your spoilers in your comment, a "SPOILER" title would've been suffice.

Monday, April 16, 2012 | Registered CommenterJonathan Silva

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