The Cabin in the Woods Movie Review – I’m not going to say much about “Cabin in the Woods,” because I can’t. What I can tell you is that there’s a cabin, it’s in the woods, some college kids go there for a weekend trip, and some bad stuff goes down. Sound familiar? Just wait. You just have to see this to believe it. I don’t even like horror movies, but this was awesome. Slight spoilers ahead, so if you want to have the best experience with this, read no further.
This movie is more of an homage to classic and recent horror movies, but also a challenge to Hollywood and it’s horror movie creators: We’ve seen it all before, so do something new. It’s not quite meta-horror, like “Scream”, but rather twists the whole genre and flips it on it’s side. Not surprising coming from writer/producer Joss Whedon (Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Serenity) and director Drew Goddard (Lost, Cloverfield). What they’ve crafted is a clever story with characters you actually care about, and a reason that most horror tropes exist. Wonder why there’s always smokey fog at night? Check. Why is that road is mysteriously blocked? There’s a reason. But that’s just scratching the surface behind the motivation for the madness we’re witnessing here.
The actors have great material to work with here, and we have mostly fresh faces to root for either being killed, or staying alive. The college kids, include smart jock Curt (a pre-Thor Chris Hemsworth), demure and naive Dana (Kristen Connolly), playful flirty girl Jules (Anna Hutchison), opinionated stoner Marty (Fran Kanz), and brainy beefcake Holden (Jesse Williams). They’re mostly a little cardboard performances, but Connolly is adorably cute, and Kanz has most of the funny lines. The movie starts off with an exchange of dialogue between two office workers played by Richard Jenkins and Bradley Whitford. We are shown from the trailers that there’s someone pushing the buttons that has something to do with what’s happening to the kids. That doesn’t give anything away, but these two almost steal the show, never second guessing about their monotonous tasks that have gruesome outcomes.
The movie gets set up as a quirky horror movie and then, as Whedon said in a recent interview, “everything explodes”. And boy howdy, does it. The last twenty minutes of the film is a visual orgasm of horror movies come to life. The movie isn’t even especially scary, or suspenseful. There are a lot of sharp jabs and frights, but it’s all to lead up to the third act, which you are not even ready for.
In many ways, “Cabin in the Woods” is a payoff for watching all those awesome and stupid horror movies through the years. I don’t know if I’ll ever watch another scary movie the same way after this. It has such a nice blend of characters, gore, humor, twists and WTF? moments that it’s going to be hard to follow up. The icing on top of all of this is that I don’t see how they can do a sequel, which is probably best. I don’t know if my brain can handle being exploded again.