Home > The Cabin in the Woods - 9 > The Cabin in the Woods – 9

The Cabin in the Woods – 9

Director – Drew Goddard

Cast – Kristen Connolly, Chris Hemsworth, Anna Hutchison, Fran Kranz, Jesse Williams, Richard Jenkins, Bradley Whitford, Brian White, Amy Acker, Sigourney Weaver

Release Year – 2012

Reviewed by John of the Dead

When I first heard someone mention The Cabin in the Woods a few months ago I thought to myself, “Cool, another slasher film. I’ll check it.”, completely oblivious to just  how awesome this experience would be.  After viewing a trailer for this piece I saw that this would be much more than the usual slasher experience, but despite the trailer and hearing of praise from the critics (surprising for a horror film) I still was not prepared for what this piece had to offer.  With a supreme storyline unlike any other I have ever seen in the genre and excellent direction from a first-timer with little horror experience in other ventures, The Cabin in the Woods makes for a truly memorable and highly enjoyable experience that results in one of the best horror films I have seen in years.

Five friends embark for a weekend trip at a family member’s newly purchased cabin deep in a secluded, wooded area.  What they expected to be a weekend of fun and boozing soon turns to terror when they find themselves bombarded by unforeseen and unspeakable horrors, leading them to discover the apocalyptic truth behind the cabin in the woods.

First and foremost, because I am posting this review on release day for the film I will do my best not to expose any spoilers or plot twists.  This may force me to not go into great detail over the positives the plot offers, but trust me, you are going to thank me.

Don’t you love with you think you know a story, but instead it kicks you in the face and gives you more than you expected?  Writers Joss Whedon(writer: Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Alien: Resurrection, Toy Story) and Drew Goddard(writer: Cloverfield, “Buffy the Vampire Slayer”, “Lost”, “Alias”) did a fantastic job writing this story, which plays off of the usual slasher-esque film involving a group of naive friends venturing off into elements outside of their comfort zone in search of a good time, only to be hacked to bits by a crazed madman.  It is obvious from the get-go that something “behind the scenes” will be going on with this slasher storyline, and I found this “behind the scenes” element to be a highly engaging factor that made this a very unique and creative storyline in a genre where creativity has been long gone.  The slasher element is not abandoned though, as Whedon and Goddard poke fun at most of the horror/slasher cliches in the book, and they do so with justification in why the cliches were used.  How did they do it?  By being brilliant, that is how.

There are have been numerous films in the genre that have employed a creepy cabin in the woods, with the most famous of them being The Evil Dead, and it was Raimi’s horror classic that lead to how our protagonists introduced the horror that plagued them.  After discovering an old dairy in the cellar of the cabin, they unknowingly unleash a horror that I never saw coming but dearly welcomed due to the brutality they brought with them.  Keep in mind that the horror going on as a result of the diary is horror that is resulting from the behind the scenes element mentioned earlier, which ultimately erupts into possibly the most horror I have seen in a film in ages.  Once the horror gets going it never relents, giving us one element of horror after another until this piece results in what I claim to be the Sucker Punch of horror films in that it literally throws EVERYTHING at us regarding the genre.  I never once thought that filmmakers could give us a horror film that blended so many different antagonists, but this writing duo did the unthinkable and threw the book at us AND finished with great results.  The kills are fantastic and come with high intensity and in surprising fashion, and for a horror film I was very impressed with the usage of our characters.  They all provided well for the story, although some less/more than others, but the five of them managed to keep me engaged throughout thanks to the awesome character play between everyone.  What I was not expected regarding our characters was the humor they provided, which came mostly from one of the protagonists and a select few other characters.  I honestly found myself laughing out loud on numerous occasions, and that occurred not only as a result of some funny dialogue but some kills that were so incredible I had to laugh out my excitement.

During the first two acts I was sold on this being a solid piece, but after the third act I realized that I had just seen one of the most enjoyable horror experiences of all time.  I really wish I could give more away on the story, but this is one story that is best viewed in theaters and not read about.

Co-writer Drew Goddard also serves as the film’s director, and also one of the film’s many surprises due to this being his first directing effort, and a damn good one at that.  From the beginning his execution makes it obvious that this is going to be a fun film that we should not take seriously, but by the end of the film you realize that despite the quirkiness and loads of humor this was a very serious and truly horrific masterpiece.  The acting performances were good, especially from Fran Kranz as Marty, the character most responsible for the film’s comic relief, but all of the actors contributed well for their roles and sold their parts positively.  Of course, the actors and their performances pale in comparison to my expectation of horror in these films, and the horror provided by Goddard’s direction was about as incredible as it gets.  His execution of every antagonist was supreme and he provided loads of gore to go along with the insane kill sequences.  The kills were executed so well that I actually jumped in my seat a few times, and I did not feel that these were cheap jump-scares but in fact scares that were just too shocking to stay still and sip my slushee without interruption.  While his execution of the entire film was great, he really sold the film to the viewer with the third act, which consisted of so many antagonists, gore, and kills that I really did not know what to do with myself, which left me in awe at how a first-timer with little horror experience (“Buffy the Vampire Slayer” does not count) could have succeeded so well in the genre, but I have a good feeling that this guy has harnessed this talent for way too long and we got the talent explosion he has been dying to release (ugh, that sounds so wrong but I am not going to rephrase).

Overall, The Cabin in the Woods is one of the most enjoyable horror films I have ever seen and one of the best I have seen in the last few years.  This piece gave me everything I want to see in a horror film, but did not stop there and gave me more than I expected, MUCH more.  The horror is fantastic and consists of numerous shout-outs to pretty much every horror sub-genre there is, and with loads of gore and excellent execution this is a highly recommended piece that I suggest you check out as soon as you can.

Rating: 9/10

  1. April 13, 2012 at 8:51 pm

    First thing I said after walking out of the movie theater: “That was the most fun I’ve had watching a horror movie since I saw Scream when I was twelve years old.” It had everything I could possibly ask for. The 9/10 is completely solid, good sir, I agree.

    • April 14, 2012 at 5:54 pm

      Bravo, I am glad you gave the film a watch and left with a smile. I too felt the same way and only wish we were given more fun and creative horror efforts these days.

  2. April 16, 2012 at 5:22 pm

    Thanks for this review, John. Haven’t seen it yet, but am now very interested. I must admit, when seeing the first few seconds of the preview, I thought it was the expected re-make of “Evil Dead” (which should not be re-made, too much of a classic). “Cabin” sounds to be something completely different that the usual horror story lines.

    • April 16, 2012 at 10:40 pm

      Oh you are dead-on about this being very different from the usual horror films we get these days, and that played heavily into my enjoyment. I do not mind seeing the same story/template so long as it is executed well and leaves me pleased in the end, but Cabin in the Woods gave me something I have never seen before, and I applaud it heavily for that. In regards to the Evil Dead remake, I too am saddened by the news and honestly wish bad omens that leave the remake scrapped forever. Heehee.

  3. April 22, 2012 at 1:26 pm

    Reading your review picked my interest on the film, John, so went to see it. Thank you for that! It was awesome! I Just loved that script, well defined characters and tons of gore and homages to some of my favorite horror films. Can’t wait for the DVD to come out.

    • April 22, 2012 at 6:06 pm

      I too was very happy with The Cabin in the Woods and its numerous homages. Most fun I’ve had in a movie theater since Drag Me To Hell.

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