Sorry for the corny title…..I couldn’t help it.
Some of the best movies are the ones that take a classic, cliche or overplayed structure and turns it on its head. Joss Whedon, creator of the cult classic television shows Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Firefly, takes a classic slasher film structure and decides to add his own brilliant twit to it in The Cabin in the Woods.
If you have not seen this film, there may be a few small spoilers in this review but nothing that will ruin the whole film. While I normally try to avoid spoilers in my reviews I am including some here because the previews for this film were quite misleading. A Cabin in the Woods is not your normal horror film. Sure you have your classic band of characters: the whore (Anna Hutchison), the athlete (Chris Hemsworth), the scholar (Jesse Williams), the fool (Fran Kranz) and most importantly the virgin (Kristen Connolly). The characters take a weekend away to a cabin in the woods. After finding some creepy elements to the house does the group try and leave? No. After finding a creepy basement filled with odd knick-knacks do they try and leave? No. After touching one of the objects and releasing a family of zombies to attack them do they try and leave? Well yes but that’s when things start to get weird (because they were not weird enough already).
As we watch our main characters delve into a horrific horror plot it starts to become clear that the entire situation is contrived. Throughout the film we jump back and forth from our classic horror story to scenes where we follow two men, Gary Sitterson (Richard Jenkins) and Steve Hadley (Bradley Whitford), in an underground facility. As we follow these men we learn that in the center of the Earth lives a number of ancient Gods. Every year the people of earth must make a sacrifice to these Gods, sacrificing a whore, an athlete, a fool and so on and so forth. Most people do not know about this sacrifice, only a handful of people in facilities across the world know that make these sacrifices happen every year.
Joss Whedon is a brilliant writer. With The Cabin in the Woods Joss creates a darkly comedic film that explains the elements of classic horror films that always seem to be the same. Why each film has a virgin and a jock ect. Why the virgin sometimes is the only one to survive. The plot of this film is absolutely genius, scary and filled with Whedon’s classic dark humor. While the people that were looking to see a pure slasher film were disappointed by the extreme twist, this film certainly had its scary moments what with a family of zombies slaughtering people and an underground facility filled with horrific creatures created to kill.
Some people did not like The Cabin in the Woods due to the radical twists but I thought it was brilliant. I was a fan of Joss before the film came out and seeing it only made me love him more. Ingenious, funny and scary, this is a cult classic in the making. While I would say this film is a must see, it is not for everybody. I would urge anybody that likes either horror films, dark comedies or Joss Whedon to see it. This is an A- film for me. Adding this to his outstanding repertoire, I can’t wait to see what Joss does next.