Drew Goddard, writer/director of The Cabin in the Woods, has asked that the secrets of the movie not be revealed. I will do my best to not spoil any of the surprises. Therefore, I feel I should apologize for the brevity/vagueness of the synopsis.
Dana (Kristen Connolly) is the virginal, prudish girl. Jules (Anna Hutchison) is Dana’s less morally strict friend. Curt (Chris Hemsworth) is Jules’ jockish boyfriend. Holden (Jesse Williams) is a friend of Curt’s, who Curt and Jules are trying to set up with Dana. Marty (Fran Kranz) is their stoner friend, complete with huge, collapsible coffee mug bong. The five are headed to a cabin in the woods, high atop a remote mountain, which was recently bought by Curt’s cousin.
When they get to the cabin, they find that things are not all they seem. And imminent danger awaits.
Sitterson (Richard Jenkins) and Hadley (Bradley Whitford) work for some nondescript agency. For reasons to be revealed later, they have all sorts of video monitoring of the cabin. We also find out that they can manipulate a great deal of the environment.
Then all hell breaks looks. Literally. Ish. The group of friends find themselves fighting for their lives, not necessarily successfully. Can they survive and make their way off the mountain?
Full disclosure: I’m not a horror movie fan. Never have been. Sure, I’ve seen most of the Friday the 13th movies (Before they started getting utterly ridiculous. Because, let’s face it, the whole premise is a bit ridiculous. Especially by the time you get to the 3rd or 4th film.), a few of the Halloween movies, etc. It’s just not my thing. Give me a good action, or comedy, or even drama, and I’m good.
Critics love this film. They say it gives horror movies the reboot they need. I agree that the genre needs a restart. After all the Saw movies, and its ilk, we need to shift directions. 14 of those are enough. Scream is the best scary movie I’ve seen. It really gave a new, unexpected twist to horror movies. (I’m referring to the original, of course. I didn’t care for the second. And the third was complete drivel. I didn’t even waste my time with number four.)
What Drew Goddard (and cowriter Joss Whedon) did with The Cabin in the Woods was to try to throw everything they could into the movie. Literally. There is a bit of every horror movie ever made thrown in. (This information is direct from Drew’s mouth. Drew and Kristen Connolly, the star of the film, were gracious enough to conduct a Q & A session after the screening. Nice guy. I’ve never had the opportunity to hear the director and one of the star’s insights into the film. Interesting experience. He said Chris Hemsworth got the call to star inThor days after filming this movie.)
They also threw in a decent amount of humor. (Some of it did seem a bit forced, at times.) To keep things light. I guess. I did laugh. But it left me feeling a little confused about whether I was supposed to be scared or laughing. Though, I think that’s what they were aiming for.
When everything is revealed, I was left with the same feeling I had watching Kingdom of the Crystal Skull. To put it mildly, it’s a bit out there. And the way they reveal it, well, it felt like a villain monologuing to the protagonist.
The highlight of the film, without giving it away, would have to be the bloodbath near the end. You’ll know it when you see it. It’s a bit gratuitous. Yet fun, just for fun’s sake.
All in all, it’s not a bad movie. It’s just not my cup of tea. Based on the audience at the screening, the movie is for diehard Buffy/Angel fans (which Drew worked on with Joss Whedon). People who really love Drew’s work. Aside fromCloverfield, which I did enjoy, I haven’t seen any of his work. So maybe I’m not the target demographic for the film.
If you are a fan of Drew, or horror movies, The Cabin in the Woods is probably for you. As I said, it’s just not my gig. I hesitate to say wait for it at the RedBox. Especially if you’re the type who doesn’t want the surprises spoiled. By the time it comes out on DVD, you’ll probably know the lion’s share of the plot.