Movie Review: The Cabin in the Woods

I heard a lot of people’s reactions to The Cabin in the W0ods, but nobody seemed to be able to accurately sum up the premise. Everyone said it was really really good, and funny, and I should watch it, but no one ever said why. I’m a fan of a lot of Whedon’s work, so I was intrigued, but I’ve also lost a little faith in his ability to aptly close a story line. Plus, I’m not a fan of horror. People assured me that it wasn’t gory (and they were right in that most of the really horrible fighting happened off screen but there were still a lot of bloody shots), and it was full of very dark humor. I love dark humor, one of my favorite movies is Drop Dead Gorgeous with Kirstin Dunst in a beauty pageant where all of the girls keep getting murdered. It is hilarious  So, even though I was unsure of the premise, I decided to give The Cabin in the Woods a try and watched it on Halloween, which seemed appropriate. I really enjoyed the movie, it was dark, humorous, had an excellent cast, and even though I figured out the ending because I’ve been immersed in Whedon’s creative works for years now, it was enjoyable, scary, and thrilling.

Five college kids head up to Curt’s family’s cabin for a mini-vacation. Curt, played by Chris Hemsworth, is the stereotypical jock. Hemsworth was excellent. His girlfriend Jules is the pretty cheerleader type who doesn’t want to get into the lake when they first arrive at the cabin, and in a typical frat boy move, Curt throws her in. Jules brings along her roommate, Dana, played by Kristen Connolly, who is still virgin. Jules is trying to set her roommate up with the studious sociology major, Holden, played by Jesse Williams (Grey’s Anatomy). Tagging along, is Curt’s friend Marty, the stereotypical stoner, there to act awkward and get everyone high. Marty is played by Fran Kranz who was in Joss Whedon’s Dollhouse and, as always, brings depth to an otherwise typical character. Unknowingly, the five friends pass through a tunnel and a force field is activated which kills an eagle. While playing truth or dare later that night, the friends end up in the basement and fool around with some of the objects left there. Jules finishes reading out loud a Latin scroll and that is when shit gets weird.

Joss Whedon takes five stereotypes, throws every horror cliche in the book at them, and then has them react in a way you would never expect but totally understand that of course they would react like that. But in typical Whedon style, something larger is at stake, and it’s not just the crew of people watching and filming the five college students. I was not surprised, Whedon never keeps things simple. I enjoyed the movie, the intricacies of the plot line, and the over use of cliches to lead up to something bigger. It was humorous. While there was a lot of blood, it wasn’t ever so disgusting I wanted to throw up, like I did while watching Prometheus. Joss Whedon fans and horror fans or psychological thriller fans will enjoy The Cabin in the Woods.

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15 thoughts on “Movie Review: The Cabin in the Woods

  1. Interesting review…I personnally thought the story was wierd right from the very beginning of the movie…atypical you might say for starting a “horror flick”…It somewhat let the viewer (us) in on the “joke” of it all. I thought it made fun of the sterotypes and turned them on their head by explaining through the plot why the characters were acting the way they were as the movie progressed…not to give any spoilers away I thought it was very inventive on the writers part. Btw the girl who you called a “virgin” is only a symbol for the virgin in the story…but her character is NOT a virgin, that’s pretty much established in the first opening scenes of the movie when its revealed she had an affair with her teacher and later on when she actually states to another character that she isn’t a virgin. Anyways it was a good movie and the best character was the pot head…go figure..btw I loved all the nods to other various horror flicks throughout the ages…again I don’t want to spoil it for anyone who hasnt seen it yet. Thanks for the review I give it 4 out of 5 stars for sure..

  2. I find Whedon hit and miss as well, and after the Avengers, I’m not sure that I want to go there again! That said, this one sounds intriguing, although I often struggle with movies that involve an ensemble cast of cliches, even if they are used in an unusual manner. I’ll wait for it to go to weekly at the DVD shop down the road. :)

  3. Honestly I didn’t enjoy the film that much, although I think I expected more “horror” than humour so maybe that’s what I didn’t like. I did like the humour and I thought it was pretty funny and the idea was innovative, but it’s a film I probably wouldn’t watch again or not for a while.
    Great summary though.

  4. this is one of the better genre films ive seen in years – as it manages to take stereotypical plot and give it new life, by providing an extra layer of reason behind what it going on. but not only does this happen within the film… it prompts you to rewatch every horror movie with new eyes, as behind the scenes there are workers pushing buttons and placing bets.

    you know, the film itself (actors/ character development/ etc) wasn’t all that great… but it had new ideas! and that fact alone makes it brilliant!

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