Announced, then delayed, delayed again and again and now finally the world has had a chance to see THE CABIN IN THE WOODS. After so much anticipation and adherence to avoid any and all possible spoilers from people seeing the film months ahead of time could the film have any chance to live up to the hype? Well hopefully this will clearly define my thoughts- while watching THE CABIN IN THE WOODS after about 30 minutes or more my internal dialogue said, “Yeah this is okay, but I’m not sure what the big deal is.” Then all of a sudden I was ravaged by that cloud of dust you see in the cartoons when two or more characters are fighting and when I was thrown clear of the insanity my internal dialogue went through a major shift and said, “This film is brilliant.”
I don’t want to be one to over explain the plot and ruin even a small surprise for anyone going in dark without having seen a trailer or clip. So the basic shakedown is this- five 20 somethings drive out to a cabin in the woods to party and what not and strange things begin to happen. That may sound extremely boring and not worth your time, but trust me, nothing I could explain here to describe the last act of this movie would come close to capturing the off the chart crazy stuff that goes down.
On the note of talking of the basic set up of five friends in a cabin In the middle of nowhere I will say is my least favorite aspect of the movie. It is set up to be the cliché ridden horror movie that this film is aiming to turn upside down and it sets up those tropes without lifting a finger. The fresh take on it though is the part of the film not described in the plot and the intentional laughs and jokes that come from it. People are going to scoff at the film’s sense of humor and wonder why they should sit through certain things it is doing but I believe that true horror fans will embrace the film whole heartedly- on the opposite side it may be possible for certain horror fans to walk away from this and never want to speak its name again. The beauty to a film like this is that it can make fans out of the unexpected, warm the heart of people who eat this up and even alienate people that thought they’d love it- any film that can subvert what we expect is a film that’s really on to something special.
The experience of watching THE CABIN IN THE WOODS is something I know I will remember- even though the film has enormous replay value I feel like the initial viewing is something to truly value especially knowing as little as possible beforehand. The meta angle of the film is where it shines and is quite honestly what carries the film in tone from beginning to end- never feeling too over-the-top in horror or humor while keeping a level of shock and violence to quench the horror fans thirst for blood.
The five main pretty people lead by Thor himself, Chris Hemsworth, fit the bill for the type of people we want to see suffer painful and horrifying deaths in horror movies which is precisely the point of THE CABIN IN THE WOODS. The overall punch of the films central commentary on the genre in general may be a bit too much for some viewers but something that the genre itself really needed in a time where horror films are watered down cash ins like remakes that target a younger and younger audience while sacrificing what makes the genre as fun and entertaining as it is. THE CABIN IN THE WOODS is a horror movie that is smarter than the audience that it’s not aimed at pleasing and that’s only part of why I ended up loving it as much as I did.
The film is not particularly scary which some might think is a huge downfall to the film but those folks should also do a double take and realize that being scary isn’t really the film’s endgame. There are creepy moments and even a few jump scares just to staple its place in the genre, but the bread and butter lies solely in the film’s sense of humor and the genre buffs ability to revel in the balls to the wall insanity that clobbered me over the head and had me smiling ear to ear till the credits rolled. THE CABIN IN THE WOODS has no need to wow the audience with unforgettable performances and instead does it with an incredible last act full of unexpected turns.
I’m just another voice in the crowd of unending shouts of praise for the film- the fact of the matter is that THE CABIN IN THE WOODS isn’t just another decent horror film it’s one of the best horror movies in recent memory. The classic clichéd set up is only a clever way of setting the audience up for a film unlike anything they’ve seen recently and mixed with several elements we’ve seen in other horror films to create an amazing Frankenstein-like film. So stoners, jocks, whores, brainiacs and virgins of the world unite- THE CABIN IN THE WOODS is a film that horror fans have been clamoring for and will slobber over every blood-soaked frame. My biggest complaint is only that we should have been able to sing this movie’s praises years ago, but as they say- better late than never.