I wanted to go into a big examination of Cabin in the Woods with this review but after seeing it, I’d feel absolutely terrible if I spoiled anything for anyone in regards to this movie. It’s absolutely a film that you should go see unspoiled and experience with virgin eyes. It’s not so much that there are lots of twists to be spoiled, as it lays the groundwork for the movie right up front, it’s just that the direction the story goes is something that is both unexpected and fun to see unravel. Cabin is most definitely an examination of the horror genre and affirms our need for horror movies.
Let me state, first and foremost, that this movie is often hilarious and thought provoking. Joss Whedon and Drew Goddard have written a script that contains some really interesting ideas and takes on typical horror tropes. My expectations going in were ridiculously high as I heard phrases like “game changing” being tossed around in regards to the film. I can’t say that I agree that the film is a game changer but I will say that I think the movie will lead to a lot of discussions after walking out of the theater. Cabin in the Woods feels like a movie that is best digested over multiple viewings so you can better see the many layers contained within its framework. The characters are all enjoyable, with Fran Kranz being my personal favorite out of the film, though Richard Jenkins and Bradley Whitford are both incredible in the film as well. The downside to the characters is that you become aware that they are being used to serve the overall story and your investment in their outcome suffers a bit because of this. Instead of being with them in the midst of all the chaos, you feel like you are watching them from a distance. They aren’t without investable characteristics mind you, it’s just that the way the premise is designed it is more about the examination of horror than it is about the characters themselves. That’s not necessarily a bad thing though as what is being discussed in the film is something I wish to learn more about.
The third act of the film is going to be a lot of fun for fans of the horror genre. The phrase “threw everything but the kitchen sink” definitely applies to this film. Again, I don’t want to go into any detail but there is definitely something in here for everyone. For fans of Whedon’s previous work, you’ll be happy to know that Amy Acker and Tom Lenk appear in the film as well.
So while I don’t think the film is as groundbreaking as some claim it is, it is something that I’d highly recommend going to see. It’s an incredibly intelligent and fun script that is executed under the deft direction of Drew Goddard. I look forward to multiple viewings of the film so that I can better pick apart all the interesting ideas behind it. I also look forward to when everyone else can go see it so that we can all openly talk about the film and really examine it. Plus, seeing as how Cabin opens on April 13, I can’t think of a better way to spend Friday the 13th than with a really fun horror movie.