Horror fans prepare to have your hacker/slasher world rocked Drew Goddard and Joss Whedon’s The Cabin in the Woods! This 2012 horror/thriller movie without a doubt adds an all new element to the horror genre, just like Wes Craven’s Scream did back in the late nineties. What I mean is that this is the first movie since Scream to offer legitimate thrillers while poking fun at itself and the horror genre in general. And poking fun I mean in the most comical but at the same time serious way possible.
The premise seems normal but with an incredible twist. It follows a group of five college student that are stereotypical of the horror movies: a jock, a slutty girl, an intellectual, a stoner, and most importantly a virgin. Together they venture out to a cabin supposedly owned by one of the friends’ cousin only to find something more sinister is at hand.
For those worried about spoilers before you see this movie you may want to put a hold on reading on and revisit this once you have seen the movie.
As I mentioned, The Cabin in the Woods does to the horror genre what Scream did back in 1996. What Scream did was have one of its characters, a horror movie guru, flat out state the rules for horror movies and then the movie follows them. What Cabin in the Woods does is inject a new way of stating the rules with people controlling the environment, the cabin, and the characters themselves as if it were some sacrificial game show. The controllers, Sitterson (Richard Jenkins) and Hadley (Bradley Whitford), have a formula or set pattern that they have to follow to have the college kids killed off depending on which means they “unknowingly” choose, a family of zombie. I must add by the way, the lead zombie carrying the trap on a chain was actually creepy! But it wouldn’t be a movie if things went according to plan. The controllers scramble as some of the attempt kills don’t go according to plan.
Hopefully that summary doesn’t give too much away.
Everything from the actors to those behind the camera making the movie were perfect. Chris Hemsworth added to the jock role with his humor and actually made him intelligent, go figure that book-smart jocks exist in horror movies. Anna Hutchison was effectively annoying but in a sexy way just as the role demanded, made bestiality seem plausible. Jesse Williams as an intellectual athlete that is a new face in the group does what is required of him by being a humble and honest love interest for the lead character. Fran Kranz was a true scene stealer as the free spirited, ranting stoner. The final friend role is the one of the virgin, played by Kristen Connolly, effectively naïve and real to make you want her to live. But the most important roles of the movie belongs to the controllers. Jenkins and Whitford fed off each other perfectly and made this film as great as it was.
People walking out of the theater were saying how they considered the Cabin in The Woods to be just as much a comedy as it is horror. But if you reflect on all the gore and ghouls seen, it is definitely a horror movie first and foremost. The special effects were fantastic and the script set it all up perfectly. Kudos to Joss Whedon and Drew Goddard on creating a horror movie that is original.
My one problem though was the last five minutes or so (SPOILERS!). The idea that this was all being done to please and contain the “horror gods.” I mean what? Never have I seen something so obscure. But after thinking about it I understood it better. People are always looking for something new and original but there are certain things they expect to happen or they won’t like it. So by using the horror gods I think Whedon and Goddard were trying to say that even thought the story is original that still had criteria they had to meet for the movie to satisfy horror fans. And they were successful.
My rating for Drew Goddard and Joss Whedon’s Cabin in the Woods is a 8/10. Fun change of pace for horror fans that are sick of the same old same old.