The Cabin in the Woods (2012)

April 10, 2012 By Mike B
Movie Review

What Worked?

Five college kids head to an isolated cabin, and terror rises as they unlock evil. Yawn. The Cabin in the Woods, directed by Drew Goddard and written by Joss Whedon (Toy Story, Firefly), takes you to a familiar place, but goes further and brilliantly peels the skin away from the typical Horror film setting.  We are taken behind the scenes to a control center that is directing how these five college kids become mincemeat. There’s more than that of course, way more, but there is no way in hell I’m going to spoil it for you–in fact, stop reading this and get your behind to the nearest theater right now! (Back? Good/ Didn’t go yet? This review is spoiler-free)

Drew Goddard and Joss Whedon have written a tremendously appetizing script that oozes with creativity. This genre-bending film will have viewers, especially Horror fans, revving their minds. The film goes back and forth between the controlled cabin and the headquarters filled with colorful government-type men, giving a behind-the-scenes type of feel. The pace of the film is fast, and the thrills come in bunches, laced with clever comedy. There is no wasted moment in this lean film, with all the laughs, scares and shocks. The Cabin in the Woods also has some gore moments that will please any Horror fan, especially of the slasher sub-genre. Guts, blood, monsters, boobs, clever dialogue and a smart script. It’s a pure mix that you’ve never tasted before.

The stereotypes: the jock, the whore, the virgin, the fool, and the scholar. From Chris Hemsworth to Kristen Connolly, all the actors playing the potential victims are wonderful in playing against type and then “becoming” the stereotypical characters once they hit the cabin. Fran Kranz, who is Marty “the fool,” stands out with his collapsible bong and quotable lines. Each actor playing a college kid has the challenge of portraying a genuine character and then flipping over and satisfying the stereotype and all make the transition wonderfully. The two actors that stand out overall are Richard Jenkins and Bradley Whitford, playing the go-to guys at the control room within the headquarters. They treat their jobs with a “this-is-just-business” sort of tone in their eyes, cracking jokes and taking bets, but there are short moments where their guilt kicks-in, as they sacrifice their humanity for the necessary job at hand.

This is what Hot Fuzz did for buddy cop movies. What Airplane! did for disaster films. This film is the great great grandson of Evil Dead II. Wait, no, it may be more than that. It’s a love letter to the Horror genre written by a satirical, yet thoughtful, hand that may change the way we look at Horror films forever. The scariest thing about this film, in a world of remakes and adaptations, is the creativity and originality of the script. The film itself slays the Horror genre that has been churning out the same crap over and over, challenging it to evolve.

Potential Drawbacks:

Plot problems:

Rounding up the entities.

Marty’s heart beat.

There’s no clear way around these two slip ups in the film, but it’s easy to forgive them since the film was such a wild, romping good time. In addition, there’s also some horribly done CGI in the film, and as far as scares go, there are only jump scares at best, but this was never a straight-up Horror film to begin with.

If you don’t like Horror/Comedy films, then stay the hell away from this film. It’s not for you, and you will more than likely label this film “ridiculous.” This is not some typical torture porn flick.

Film Recommendations:

Evil Dead II

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