There are two types of people who are going to walk into The Cabin in the Woods: the ones who are fooled into thinking the movie is exactly what the title suggests, a by-the-numbers slasher flick, and those who have done their homework and know better than that. While there is a good amount of spilt blood, The Cabin in the Woods is even more a horror satire, and an incredibly satisfying one at that.
The initial premise is the same: five college kids go to a cabin (you’ll never guess where it is) and are slowly picked off. Meanwhile, two office workers engage in some witty banter and start taking bets in an office pool, the topic of which becomes surprisingly apparent. From this point on, the plot takes such a turn that anything more said about it could be described as a spoiler, so here is where I stop describing what’s happening and re-raise the curtain of mystery.
|Zombie Redneck Torture Family
Admittedly, it’s really hard to review this movie, since a lot of its truly great moments would be ruined if I described them to someone who hasn’t seen it. I’ll get into detail later about preparing to see it, but now to the broad things that work so well.
Like Scream, Cabin in the Woods knows its audience is aware of horror tropes and how horror movies play out, with some characters actions poking fun at the things audience members do. Unlike Scream, where clichés are only pointed out, Cabin actually identifies the tropes and then provides amusing explanations as to why they exist and are an integral part of the story.
Much of Cabin’s success can be credited to the creative team of Joss Whedon and Drew Goddard. Whedon’s writing brings a refreshing amount of satirical wit and knowledge of the genre and Goddard executes everything almost perfectly, with only a few inconsistencies at the end.
And unlike most horror movies, the characters are all likeable people from the start and only become archetypes who make stupid slasher movie decisions (“We need to split up”) because they are manipulated into it by unseen forces.
This movie is an enthusiastic gift for loyal fans of the genre and people who crave and respect movies that just go for it. But to truly realize all the awesome things going on, one has to see it for themselves, which brings us to the most important part.
This is not the movie you believe it to be. This was not the movie your friend who hated it thought it was going to be. This is not like the spoon-fed, banal, lame horror crap they keep churning out every year, which is partly what it’s being sold as, and probably what said friend wanted it to be. It does what it wants, unapologetically, and it ends how it logically should. Just because a movie is not what people are expecting it to be doesn’t mean it’s a bad movie. It’s a smart film but it’s also a wildly fun and humorous film, and one that does not deserve to be ignored or misunderstood.