Joss Whedon says that Cabin in the Woods is a very loving hate letter
When I was younger, I grew up on horror films. This was in the 80s and early 90s before the genre had reached a point where the scares and gore were thrown in just to serve as shock. There used to be something to horror, but it's rare to find a gem amongst a ton of coal.
Joss Whedon is pretty tired of it himself. During an interview with Total Film, he talked about his inspiration for CABIN IN THE WOODS, “It’s basically a very loving hate letter. On some level it was completely a lark, me and Drew [Goddard, director] trying to figure out what the most fun we could have would be. On another level it’s a serious critique of what we love and what we don’t about horror movies.”The director/writer has an admiration for the genre and goes on to explain why, “I love being scared. I love that mixture of thrill, of horror, that objectification/identification thing of wanting definitely for the people to be alright but at the same time hoping they’ll go somewhere dark and face something awful.” Filmmakers don't even seem to care about their characters being safe from the things that go bump in the night. They introduce them to the most severe pain they can inflict without giving the viewer a drop of hope for them. Horror characters aren't meant to be disposable to the point that you don't recall they even existed.
And what's Joss' beef? “The things that I don’t like are kids acting like idiots, the devolution of the horror movie into torture porn and into a long series of sadistic comeuppances. Drew and I both felt that the pendulum had sung a little too far in that direction.”