The Cabin in the Woods
Directed by Drew Goddard
Written by Drew Goddard and Joss Whedon
Starring Kristen Connolly, Chris Hemsworth, Anna Hutchison, Fran Kranz, Jesse Williams, Richard Jenkins, Bradley Whitford, and Amy Acker
Release Date: April 13, 2012
Stop me if you’ve heard this one: a group of college kids visit a remote cabin in the woods to partake in irresponsible activities such as (but not limited to) alcohol, illicit drugs, and premarital sex.
One by one, these nubile teenagers are hacked to pieces by an axe-wielding maniac in the woods (or God-forsaken summer camp).
Sound familiar? It should. You’ve seen this genre convention in horror films like The Evil Dead, Friday the 13th, Cabin Fever, Sleepaway Camp, The Burning, and Tucker & Dale Vs Evil. The Old Dark House has become The Cabin in the Woods, a subversive, spirited deconstruction of the genre. Even the film’s title is a reference to the archetypes it celebrates and simultaneously dissects.
Directed by Drew Goddard and co-written by Goddard and Joss Whedon, The Cabin in the Woods is an unconventional, satisfying carnival dark ride that is fun, scary, and altogether definitive.
Definitive? Really? Yes. Whedon and Goddard have given birth to something of a masterwork – a holy text of horror that has changed the genre by exposing (in hilarious detail) the minutiae of what has become the standard in horror movies. As Whedon has so aptly described it, “a loving hate letter” that also works as a serious critique.
There’s the jock, the slut, the nerd, the virgin, the stoner – all your old pals are there, and they’re in for some serious shit. To say anything else about the film’s actual plot would be a disservice to the brilliant work Whedon and Goddard have done in keeping everything under wraps. It’s best to go into The Cabin in the Woods with no pre-conceived notions or prior knowledge.
We’ve seen exploitation films, slasher flicks, demonic possession, waves of Japanese horror has since devolved into “torture porn” movies like Saw and Hostel, and countless re-imaginings of classic movie monsters and new horror icons like Jason Voorhees, Michael Myers, and Freddy Krueger. The Cabin in the Woods is the final horror film – the period at the end of a longwinded run-on sentence. It’s a blood-splattered, bad-ass thesis in genre filmmaking.
Your enjoyment of the film, however, will more than likely hinge on your love of the source material. Movie geeks will be playing “spot that horror movie reference” while cackling with delight whereas those who aren’t in on the joke simply won’t get it.
Like The Rocky Horror Picture Show and Grindhouse, The Cabin in the Woods is a movie destined to be celebrated by movie nerds at Midnight screenings for years to come – a film that must be experienced in theaters with an audience of bloodthirsty movie geeks.
That’s it, kids. We’re all done here. Move along.Thanks for coming out! It was good while it lasted. No more dead bodies for Daddy tonight.
Overall Rating: 5 out of 5