Because I’m not one of those intuitive movie viewers who figure things out from the movie trailer alone, I went into The Cabin in the Woods not knowing what to expect (nor did I read any online spoilery).
Turns out, nothing would have really spoiled the movie because you get most of the premise from the beginning. Don’t let that deter you. This movie was really good. If you want to go into it “fresh,” go ahead and stop here, because there are quasi-spoilers ahead.
The movie doesn’t start with a cabin or the woods or even the kids who are going to the cabin in the woods. It starts out with men in lab coats and Fred from Angel (Amy Acker) in a large corporate laboratory setting. Only after the title flash do we get to the college students who are heading to the cabin for a weekend getaway.
The trip sets the stage for all kinds of classic horror: deep woods, creepy guy at the gas station, abandoned cottage that has a cellar full of creepy collectibles. The key to the adventure is in the collectibles themselves, and it’s revealed quickly that the whole thing is a “show,” set up and ran by the lab people who have to follow certain rules in order to get the kids to do things in a specific way. It sounds sadistic, but they do have a good reason for doing what they do. That fact I’ll let you find out for yourself.
The Cabin in the Woods, while foremost a horror movie, is clever and funny. The characters are stereotypical (for a reason), and while most of them aren’t likable, the character of Marty (Fran Kranz) was my favorite as the stoner/hero/comic relief. The delivery of all the actors was well placed, and the cast, while not super well known, contained some familiar faces (including a couple from other Joss Whedon projects).
Funny as it was, it still delivered in the horror department. While it starts out as a typical zombie/slasher/horror movie, the intensity goes way up towards the end. I can see where some viewers might find it campy. Many classic horror monsters (some familiar, some not) are introduced for the climax,* and there is very much a gore overload. I was scared, not in that suspense building way that a lot of horror movies rely on, but in a full out in your face battle/dinner** scene.
If you’re not a horror fan, you probably won’t appreciate the gory nuances of the film, but if you can take a little comedy with your scary, definitely see this movie.
*Hehe…yes, I said “climax,” so if you have the 14 year old giggle mentality like I often do, giggle it out now.
**When I say dinner, I don’t necessarily mean you’re going to want to eat anything while watching this movie.