As a huge fan of the horror genre, Drew Goddard's The Cabin in the Woods has been one of my most anticipated films of the year. As the scribe of Cloverfield and a longtime writer for the hit television show Lost, Goddard's resume speaks for itself. Therefore, I couldn't think of anything more uniquely creative than the idea of Goddard tackling my most beloved genre, horror. And without a moment's hesitation, I ventured out on its opening day and experienced, first hand, the story behind The Cabin in the Woods.
Cliche for a reason, the film follows five friends on a remote trip to an uncle's cabin located far off of the grid. You've seen the commercials, listened to the taglines, and you wouldn't bat an eye. You'd probably even ask yourself "what's so original" about The Cabin in the Woods. And to a degree, you'd be absolutely correct.
Every now and again I come across a rare movie that I struggle to review. The Cabin in the Woods is a prototypical example of such movies. For starters, there's only a handful (or two) of friends to whom I'd actually recommend this picture. The Cabin in the Woods is far too strange and outlandish for the masses to enjoy. However, in throwing my opinion out there, I can truthfully say that I appreciated the film. The Cabin in the Woods serves as a cleverly constructed mockery of its own genre. Purposely addressing every overused nuance of horror movies and slasher films, the feature prides itself on its embellished shell. Generic to a perfection (just look at the title), the movie uses this form of simplicity as a game to transform itself into a shockingly original piece of work. Without giving away too much of the plot, The Cabin in the Woods is a smart, well written twist of ideas.
Although there's a crafty core at the center of The Cabin in the Woods, the picture is not suitable for all types of audiences. Most moviegoers will find the feature to be erratic, nonsensical, and lacking in scares, all of which I can agree with. Almost to a fault, the film uses the duo of Richard Jenkins (Step Brothers) and Bradley Whitford (Billy Madison) to inject an overabundance of laughs. Unless you can appreciate the film's sarcastic intentions, this overuse of humor will feel unnecessary. Furthermore, when seeing the movie, it's imperative not to expect a full fledged horror flick. The Cabin in the Woods attempts to detach itself from the genre almost immediately but, after trying to sell the audience on its ideas, it eventually comes full circle.
The Cabin in the Woods is a surprisingly original journey into the heart of the schematic horror formula. It's a movie created for lovers of all horror films, no matter how good or bad. If you want some cheap scares or something far more meaningful, don't waste your time with this one. Unless you're interested in simultaneouslywitnessing a slap in the face and a big thank you to its genre, I'd stay away from The Cabin in the Woods. Otherwise, please enjoy.