The Cabin in the Woods is such a difficult movie to review because it relies so much on the secret, or secrets, that are possessed within its story. You might think that this is simply another movie where a group of unsuspecting college kids travel out to a secluded cabin in the woods and then come face to face with evil killers. If that’s what the trailers have led you to believe then you’d be half right. There’s something completely different going on here which makes Cabin one of this year’s most enjoyable films.
I dare only reveal what can be seen in the movie’s trailer. Five college kids head out on a weekend getaway to an isolated cabin far from the prying eyes of civilization. The kids seem to perfectly inhabit the horror movie clichés, almost like it was planned that way or something. You have the promiscuous hottie, Jules (Anna Hutchinson), who is more than willing to take off her top. If we’ve learned anything from horror movies that character usually always dies first. Then we have the strong, strapping jock, Curt (Chris Hemsworth) who may have muscles, but has very little in the brain department. Next is the brainy kid, Holden (Jesse Williams), who loves poetry and all kinds of scholarly pursuits. Then there’s the drug-induced wastoid of the group, Marty (Fran Kranz) who is always high and constantly rambling about all sorts of gibberish nonsense. Finally, we have Dana (Kristen Connolly) the sweet, coy girl of the bunch. The exact same character who usually survives any horror movie they’re put in.
Fans of Joss Whedon already know that he’s one of the brains behind this movie. From the outset you can tell that Whedon is in charge here. The way he sets up his story mixing horror and humor is brilliant. This is one of the funniest horror spoofs since Shaun of the Dead reinvented the genre. Here Whedon rags on just about every horror movie cliché there is, but the true genius of the film lies with its intricate story. See, even though this is a spoof, Whedon and director Drew Goddard, are careful to still keep the movie captivating. The keep us interested in the movie’s plot all the while we’re laughing along with it. It’s not one of those spoof movies where you sit around waiting for the next joke. You’ll find yourself immersed in the twisting turning plot from the very beginning.
Character actors Richard Jenkins and Bradley Whitford show up in roles I dare not disclose at this time. Needless to say they are integral to the movie’s plot and its subversive humor. These guys do not disappoint. You’ll soon find yourself wondering more about what they are doing than what the kids in the cabin are doing.
Even with all the funny the movie still manages to have more than enough scary moments to keep horror fans entertained. Cabin walks a tight rope of horror and humor that can really only be achieved by Whedon himself, who pulled off the same type of acrobatic act when he was producing Buffy the Vampire Slayer for television.
The Cabin in the Woods has got to be seen to be believed. That’s all there is to it. I can’t divulge anything without giving away the movie’s secrets. I wouldn’t want to do that to you. I want you to go see it and enjoy it for the clever, ridiculous, and hilarious ride that it is. Why this movie sat on the studio’s shelf for so long before being released is a mystery. This is a horror film for everyone. Even people who hate horror films. You simply have to see it.