Latest Movie News Headlines

Review: The Cabin in the Woods

Apr. 9, 2012by: Eric Walkuski

PLOT: Five friends head to a cabin in the woods for a weekend of fun, not realizing that forces outside of their control have vastly different plans for them.

(NOTE: This review will be almost completely SPOILER FREE. That said, if you want to know absolutely nothing about THE CABIN IN THE WOODS, then you should move along...)

REVIEW: Somewhere along the line, Joss Whedon described THE CABIN IN THE WOODS – a film he produced and co-wrote with director Drew Goddard – as a “loving hate letter”. Seems like he meant (in his usual subversive way) that it was a hate letter to the genre he obviously adores yet is compelled to undermine, but it might be more accurate to describe it as a loving hate letter to horror fans. CABIN puts its mark on the genre so indelibly that it'll be near impossible to watch your favorite “Dead Teenager” movie again without having Whedon and Goddard's film pop up in your mind. The same applies for future horror flicks where young, pretty protagonists find themselves stranded and facing certain death from a maniac/demon/evil spirit/fill-in-the-blank. THE CABIN IN THE WOODS' affectionate and twisted approach to the well-worn material makes it unforgettable. Intense, funny and sometimes just plain nuts, it's a sure bet to land on Top Ten lists and achieve “classic” status by year's end.

If you've seen the trailers, then you know more than what I'm willing to describe here. If you've successfully avoided them (and I'd continue to do so if I were you), then you can be secure in the knowledge that I'll only lay out the bare bones of the film's storyline: Five college friends, on one of those whims that folks like them have in movies like this, decide to visit one of their cousin's ramshackle cottage in the ass-end of nowhere for a weekend of the usual naughty extracurricular activities. Plot initiated.

In our group we have good girl Dana (Kristen Connolly), smart jock Curt (Chris Hemsworth), Curt's bubbly girlfriend Jules (Anna Hutchison), pothead Marty (Fran Kranz) and Dana's potential love interest, nice guy Holden (Jesse Williams). They're all affable and charming and not particularly memorable... and that's just how the film's creators want them.

What our likable characters don't realize, until it's too late, is that their visit to the cabin – and everything that happens within and around it – is well beyond their control. Soon the trip devolves into a nightmare and it becomes clear that there's much more going on than meets the eye.

Not spoiling the plot is a kindness to the casual moviegoer, but the truth is, if you're familiar with Whedon and Goddard's work (Goddard wrote for Whedon's “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” and “Angel”), a lot of what happens in THE CABIN IN THE WOODS will not be unexpected. You expect curve balls and disarming humor amid the gory chaos from these guys, so the movie is almost predictable in its very unpredictability. Whedon so thoroughly deconstructed horror, comedy and horror-comedy with “Buffy” that some of the twists in CABIN feel like they could be left over from the beloved series.

Do not get me wrong, however: THE CABIN IN THE WOODS is an immensely enjoyable experience, and will soon be considered required viewing for horror lovers – and all appreciators of movies that keep you on your toes. Whedon and Goddard have a surplus of wild notions and surreal visuals to share, and they unload them at a pace that increasingly accelerates until the whole box of tricks is overturned in a third act that plays like every horror nerd's memory bank has been emptied onto the screen. The duo aren't shy about thieving hallmarks from other scary movie franchises, nor do they expect to be reprimanded for it; THE CABIN IN THE WOODS is partially a horror movie about horror movies, but in a way that isn't tiresome or derivative. (It will be compared to SCREAM in some quarters, but it's doing something quite different.)

The main cast - not unlike the characters they portray - is appealing, if unremarkable. Hemsworth certainly displays some of the star status he's achieved since shooting this (it was filmed in 2009), while Connolly is a big-eyed cutie that Whedon seems to gravitate to. Kranz's stoner Marty steals a few scenes with his voice-of-reason sarcasm, but the real crowd-pleasers are veteran character actors Richard Jenkins and Bradley Whitford, who are featured as... well, I can't tell you that. Rest assured that in this movie filled with young, charismatic up-and-comers, it's the old pros who get the juiciest roles.

But I could go on and on... THE CABIN IN THE WOODS is pure, giddy entertainment from start to finish, and that's what truly sticks with you. It's a rare occasion to leave a theater smiling from ear to ear and talking about how you can't wait to see a movie again, but CABIN absolutely has that effect. You won't want to miss it.

Source: JoBlo.com

Related Articles

MORE FUN FROM AROUND THE WEB

Strikeback
Not registered? Sign-up!
Or

8:44AM on 07/02/2013
I really need to track down a copy of this movie.
I really need to track down a copy of this movie.
Your Reply:



+0
12:43AM on 04/14/2012
The first great film of 2012. It was worth the three-year wait. Here's my full spoiler-free review:

[link]
The first great film of 2012. It was worth the three-year wait. Here's my full spoiler-free review:

[link]
Your Reply:



10:41AM on 04/13/2012
An awesome and smart movie. That last act is pure insanity.
An awesome and smart movie. That last act is pure insanity.
Your Reply:



11:19PM on 04/12/2012

went to see...

this piece of shit today, and it is a complete waste of time. Predictable in it's disjointedness, as if the writer had some bad coke and decided that tossing as many horror cliches into one script would be cool. And the ending? what the fuck was that? if you are nostalgic for Whedon's TV days, this is for you, if you rather buffy and that ilk be a pleasant memory then don't go see this steamer. Some things are better off as happy memories. Original? In so far as a concept can be. Well executed?
this piece of shit today, and it is a complete waste of time. Predictable in it's disjointedness, as if the writer had some bad coke and decided that tossing as many horror cliches into one script would be cool. And the ending? what the fuck was that? if you are nostalgic for Whedon's TV days, this is for you, if you rather buffy and that ilk be a pleasant memory then don't go see this steamer. Some things are better off as happy memories. Original? In so far as a concept can be. Well executed? God no, SW's performance seems phoned in, ala resurrection and paul. Horror? Cant say so, there are many recent movies that are horror (insidious, even the cheap scares are scarier than the most tense moments in this movie). All i could say is give it a chance, you may like it, but dont hold your breath. 4/10
Your Reply:



3:50AM on 05/04/2012
It's one thing to just disagree. You didn't like the movie. Fine that's your loss. But to try and criticize the movie and the review with this holier than thou attitude as if you definitely know what's good and what's bad (while blasting all those who see differently) is just f**king stupid.

I didn't know a whole lot before going in to see this and I loved it. Not what I would call a true (or at least straight up) horror movie but still by far the most entertaining horror genre movie I've
It's one thing to just disagree. You didn't like the movie. Fine that's your loss. But to try and criticize the movie and the review with this holier than thou attitude as if you definitely know what's good and what's bad (while blasting all those who see differently) is just f**king stupid.

I didn't know a whole lot before going in to see this and I loved it. Not what I would call a true (or at least straight up) horror movie but still by far the most entertaining horror genre movie I've seen in sometime. Although I'd put Trollhunter right up there. That sh*t was great too.

Anyway, again if you don't like it fine but get over thinking that you are somehow better than all those that do enjoy this movie.
2:42AM on 04/10/2012

Saw it tonight.

The reviewer notes that his review is spoiler free for a good reason. The less you know about this movie going in the better. This is an epic horror movie. Nice to see an original horror movie in theaters instead of a remake/sequel/same ol same ol.
The reviewer notes that his review is spoiler free for a good reason. The less you know about this movie going in the better. This is an epic horror movie. Nice to see an original horror movie in theaters instead of a remake/sequel/same ol same ol.
Your Reply:



-22
6:54AM on 04/09/2012
Please tell me it isn't going to be the norm for article reviews on this site to be headlined with a notice noting that the spoiler free review will be spoiler free??

Please tell me it isn't going to be the norm for article reviews on this site to be headlined with a notice noting that the spoiler free review will be spoiler free??

Your Reply:



9:27AM on 04/09/2012
I wish I had your problems in life...
I wish I had your problems in life...
10:42AM on 04/13/2012
Oh no. How could this happen? How can I move on from in my life with these spoiler warnings?
Oh no. How could this happen? How can I move on from in my life with these spoiler warnings?
6:22AM on 04/09/2012
Damn, this guy is receiving massive hate, for hating on the movie. I think it looks pretty good. C'mon 30 of you people click a thumbs down button on a comment, but don't actually post a comment yourself?get in here people! I'm drunk!
Damn, this guy is receiving massive hate, for hating on the movie. I think it looks pretty good. C'mon 30 of you people click a thumbs down button on a comment, but don't actually post a comment yourself?get in here people! I'm drunk!
Your Reply:



-132
12:55AM on 04/09/2012

suck corporate teat...

much? Since when this drivel is the establishment? What does inane comments like "so the movie is almost predictable in its very unpredictability" mean? It is or it isn't. Yes, the small screen's quality is taking massive leaps and bounds, to almost cinema production levels, but that is not because of folks like Whedon. Those two series were drivel, and he is surely going to fuck up Avengers.
much? Since when this drivel is the establishment? What does inane comments like "so the movie is almost predictable in its very unpredictability" mean? It is or it isn't. Yes, the small screen's quality is taking massive leaps and bounds, to almost cinema production levels, but that is not because of folks like Whedon. Those two series were drivel, and he is surely going to fuck up Avengers.
Your Reply:



1:12AM on 04/09/2012
you're an idiot....
you're an idiot....
9:57PM on 04/09/2012
Good god you are stupid. "Predictable in its very unpredictability," means that you know the movie isn't going where you think it is. You would know that if you bothered to read the first half of that sentence.

Why don't you actually comment on the film if you have seen it (unlikely,) rather than lashing out at this site's writers like a moron.
Good god you are stupid. "Predictable in its very unpredictability," means that you know the movie isn't going where you think it is. You would know that if you bothered to read the first half of that sentence.

Why don't you actually comment on the film if you have seen it (unlikely,) rather than lashing out at this site's writers like a moron.
10:22AM on 04/12/2012
hahaha, really? i'm an idiot for thinking that a nepotistic review of a movie that was on a shelf for over 2 years is a tad obvious at kissing ass? That TV shows like Buffy and Angel are awful and the precursors to dumb shit like Secret Circle and Vampire Diaries? An idiot for asking precisely what the inane oxymoron meant? It is pretty obvious where this piece of shit is going, and hopefully you asshats will be honest enough to say you hated it. If it turns out different I'll admit i was
hahaha, really? i'm an idiot for thinking that a nepotistic review of a movie that was on a shelf for over 2 years is a tad obvious at kissing ass? That TV shows like Buffy and Angel are awful and the precursors to dumb shit like Secret Circle and Vampire Diaries? An idiot for asking precisely what the inane oxymoron meant? It is pretty obvious where this piece of shit is going, and hopefully you asshats will be honest enough to say you hated it. If it turns out different I'll admit i was wrong. But, a group of people stuck in a cabin in the woods that is actually a test site for a black ops experiment in attack zombies seems pretty dumb to me, and I like zombie movies. Oh, yeah, every one dies, and that isn't predictable? hahahaha, if that's smart cinema then sure, I'm and idiot.
10:24AM on 04/12/2012
96 thumbs down, must be some kind of record. awesome.
96 thumbs down, must be some kind of record. awesome.
10:43AM on 04/13/2012
Bored much?
Bored much?