Mostly everything you’ve already heard about The Cabin in the Woods is true. Yes, it’s almost impossible to truly showcase the film’s depth without getting all spoiler-y. Yes, Joss Whedon (and co-writer/director Drew Goddard) has done it again, creating one of the most unique and visual horror experiences in years. Yes, Cabin is perhaps the most self-aware and satirical horror film since the original Scream. And finally, YES: You. Should. Go. See. It.
The movie begins just as every other B-, C-, and D-level fright flick does: A group of stereotypical youngsters heads out to a remote location for some beer drinking and pot smoking, only to find themselves being hunted down by…something. There’s a jock, a stoner, a school girl, the nice guy, and a slut. But why do these stereotypes and conventions even exist? And why does this genre, in particular, continuously belabor such tedious cliches? Cabin attempts to answer these questions, and more, while simultaneously poking fun at itself throughout.
If that’s not meta enough for you, Cabin‘s layered twists and turns will constantly have you shaking your head and guessing which 180 degree deviation it’s going to take next. Besides the many death traps for our beloved cast of predictables, a certain company of techies seem to know much more about the cabin’s secrets. Richard Jenkins (Six Feet Under) and Bradley Whitford (The West Wing) play the two leaders of this mission, who are somehow manipulating the cabin and its inhabitants, leading the kids to more danger and almost certain death. It’s like a “Choose Your Own Adventure” novel for these hapless suckers, one seemingly without any possibility for a happy ending. What is this company, and why are they doing this?
So many questions, so little time! At a meager 95 minutes, the movie moves so fast that before you even have a chance to get a handle on what’s going down, it zigs right when you thought it would zag. As one tagline for the film says: “You think you know the story.” I assure you: You thought wrong.
This movie sat on the shelf for almost three years thanks to a clusterfuck at MGM (the film was later sold to Lionsgate for distribution). But thank the movie gods above for allowing this piece of brilliance to come to light. What a breath of fresh air Cabin is, for the film’s creators, for the audience, and for the genre at large. In a sea of reboots, remakes, and widely unoriginal screenplays, The Cabin in the Woods proves that there’s still life left in a genre that has been left for dead more times than Jason Voorhees.Tags: Amy Acker, Bradley Whitford, Buffy, Cabin in the Woods, Chris Hemsworth, Drew Goddard, Firefly, Fran Kranz, Joss Whedon, Richard Jenkins, Thor