When you come across a film like this, with the title “Cabin in the Woods” (like the tagline says) you think you know the story. It will be a cliché ridded bland run of the mills horror flick but if you think this you will be dead wrong. This is one of the best horror films of this young century for this is a scary, fun, and wholly original work of horror that would be perfect if not for just a couple of very small flaws.
In this film five friends journey to a small cabin in the middle of nowhere, where they would be effectively cut off from the rest of the world to have a fun filled vacation. However after not heading a warning from the gas station owner, they journey to the cabin where it seems like someone is toying with them, and wants them all dead but soon they start to see a much bigger picture than just that.
As you could properly tell from the brief synopses I gave I am being very vague with the plot details, only giving you the most basic details that mostly the trailer gave away. Unlike most horror films the plot and the story is the most key instrumental in this symphony and the less you know going in, the better. The plot seems so simple and it starts off simple and you still think it is going to be a cliché ridden movie but certain scenes start to hint at something different, and it intrigues you. The plot keeps moving and the twists and turns keep coming and each one you don’t expect, before you know it you’ve made it to the grand finale where you’ll either love it or hate it. The ending leaves the viewer thinking and it coincides with the themes that have been unraveling throughout the film.
Throughout the movie surprisingly we get many different themes on choice, value of life, friendship and many different philosophical themes that are very surprising to see and the metaphors used in the film generally reflects the climate and moods of today’s society. The movie can be taken so many different ways, as a fun time, a great horror film, a movie made for movie lovers, a satire on the whole genre, or even a commentary on society as a whole. This is a script (written by the great Joss Whedon and Drew Goddard) that has many layers to it and can be seen from many different viewpoints. This only took a weekend for this duo to write the script, that’s right a weekend, makes you wonder why you wait so long for certain movies to make it to the big screen.
The clichés are used as a plot device rather than let it become the film’s downfall, they are strong points. The movie literally deconstructs the genre of horror to its core, in a similar way “Scream” did it back in 1996. Every once in a while these movies come along to “shake things up” and reinvent what is possible in horror.
What this film does is bring together so many different elements that we are bound to have some tonal inconsistency, yet there isn’t. For those of you don’t know, tonal inconsistency is something that happens when a film have several different elements such as comedy and horror and they begin to interfere with one another where something serious just happened but the filmmakers stick a laugh in right after it and it completely kills any feeling you had towards the previous happening on screen. This mixes mystery, horror, and comedy all in one and that problem of tone never once becomes a problem. The movie intercuts between two connected stories and one usually provides a great deal of comic relief to relieve the tension that is on screen and keeps things fun and satirical for the audience.
Through all of this that I have raved about is this horror movie scary? Yes it is but I can’t say it is one of the scariest of all time. Many scenes are filled with tension and are very suspenseful, but is it horrifying? Nah, scary enough where you don’t complain about lack of scares and the rest of the elements of the film pick it up and help carry the movie and make it special.
This is a true gem of horror. It brilliantly deconstructs what you know about horror films and blends together, horror, mystery, comedy and likeable characters (wait that can happen in horror?), combine all of that with a wicked direction from writer Joss Whedon and co-writer and director Drew Goddard. This is an amazing horror film, one that I absolutely loved.