Review: The Cabin in the Woods
How often have you heard the story of a group of stereotypical teens (including the jock, the slut, the virgin etc.) who wants to spend the weekend in the middle of nowhere then there’s a deserted gas station on the way with an old man who warns them that they are doomed if they continue? You think you know how the rest of the story goes? If you do, you are totally wrong, this is Cabin in the Woods.
Cabin in the Woods is a collaboration of the duo Drew Goddard and Joss Whedon who previously worked together on Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Angel. This is probably the hardest review I have had to write. I tried to be very careful as any detail I might spill could ruin the experience for you so I decided to write this review simple, short and sweet.
Please be warned that there might be some potential SPOILERS within this review.
Cabin in the Woods starts off with a very puzzling opening scene which leaves the audience with a “what the f*** is going on here?” reaction. Then we are introduced to our group of kids looking to spend the weekend in a (yes, you guessed it right) cabin in the woods. As we get to know the characters it seems everything is pointing towards another predictable horror story set in the woods convoluted with all the typical horror clichés we’ve all grown up with. I was wrong, so totally wrong. As soon as the group entered the cabin, the craziness sky-rocketed and I loved every minute of it.
The writers of the movie did an amazing job with the story and the dialogue. Everything felt natural and almost every character on screen were actually likeable that you wanted to root for them (or sometimes wait for their comeuppance). Lines after lines are cleverly delivered and the timing is perfect. The dialogue is smart, self-aware and doesn’t take itself too seriously whenever it tries to poke at the horror genre itself. There are moments where you know something is going to happen but when it does happen it is still effective. The movie almost explains to us “why do all these horror clichés happen?“ and it does a really good job at it.
Visually, the movie looks very well made and of course there is the gore-factor and Cabin never disappoints with the gore department. The special effects are beautiful although there are some CGI effects that didn’t look natural. The score and sound effects again fit perfectly with the premise but didn’t stand out too much in my opinion. After seeing the film I can’t help but wonder why this was shelved for almost 3 years.
What I appreciate the most in Cabin in the Woods is how fun and very entertaining the movie is. This is one of those rare horror films where you will laugh, scream and just marvel at the great moments it had to offer, and the best thing is that the energy doesn’t go down and the momentum just keeps getting high as the movie progresses. Yes, the movie tried to be funny at times but it doesn’t overdo it to go into “Scary Movie” territory. It really reminded me of how successful Scream was back in the ‘90s.
Overall, I feel the Cabin in the Woods was crafted with a perfect combination of horror ingredients: likable characters, witty dialogue, great premise and crazy twists. The only complaint for me was the ending, I felt they could have made a better conclusion but it was still satisfying. In the end, the Cabin in the Woods is a tribute to all horror movies out there, good or bad. If you are a fan of the genre, you owe it to yourself to watch this. The Cabin in the Woods is the long lost love letter to all horror fans.