This one is one of my favorite horror movies of all time so it is awesome to include it in this year’s EYG Halloween Horror Bingefest.
The Cabin in the Woods from director Drew Goddard and producer/co-writer Joss Whedon is an amazingly creative and thoroughly entertaining horror film that not only brings thrills and scares, but also deconstructs the tropes and genre-specific moments that all horror movies revel within. It is as clever of a film as you are going to see, and it is just as horrifying and gory as any other film of its ilk.
Five young people head to a family member’s cabin in the woods for a weekend of fun and frivolity, but they, instead, find death and fear. Yes, this sounds like a typical plotline from many horror movies, but this is anythign but typical.
In fact, we discover early in the movie that the entire situation is being manipulated by a group of puppeteers as a sacrifice to some mysterious force. This was not the only sacrifice going down, as we see other examples from around the world (all playing into genre specific horror). These puppeteers are shown to be the reason why characters in horror movies make such a series of inane choices or stupid decisions. Gas, technology and other manipulations lead these subjects into their bad decisions.
Our two main puppeteers (Richard Jenkins & Bradley Whitford) are jovial and confident in their jobs and we see them as if they were in an office working at any normal 9 to 5 job. There was not much normal about this though.
The five kids are made to fit by the puppeteers into five generalized archetypes that you normally see in horror films: the virgin, Dana (Kristen Connolly), the fool Marty (Fran Kranz), the jock Curt (Thor himself Chris Hemsworth), the scholar Holden (Jesse Williams) and the whore Jules (Anna Hutchison). Then we see the five of them slowly killed by the monster that they had unleashed.
There is such a clever twist to this story, one that you have seen for so many different times that The Cabin in the Woods becomes so fresh and funny that you are never sure what is going to happen next. You root for these five young adults despite the fact that it seems that they are destined to be finished off.
There is also an epic cameo at the end of the film, which I will not spoil, but which feels perfectly cast.
This was one of my absolutely favorite movies from 2012 (behind, if I remember correctly only The Avengers). The Cabin in the Woods is such a classic of the genre, and yet seems to exceed it as well. It takes the best bits of the horror genre and of the comedy genre and mix them up into a beautiful amalgam of weirdness. It actually sat on the shelf for years before its eventual release, which is a shame. It truly was worth the wait.