Cabin in the Woods review
Cabin in the Woods scares fews, confuses some, mocks all
I think, repeat think, that Cabin In The Woods is a horror movie about five college kids who are forced into a terrifying world of cliches and monsters. The film seems like a generic Hollywood money-grabber with no originality or creativity to justify it. But that’s exactly the point.
The film is directed by Drew Goddard and stars Kristen Connolly, Chris Hemsworth, Anna Hutchison, Fran Kranz, and Jesse Williams. It runs 95 minutes and is rated R.
The movie’s beginning is the epitome of all horror movie cliches. Five archetype college students (the jock, the nerd, the goof, the blond, and the ‘innocent one’) are looking forward to a weekend spent at a cabin smack-dab in the middle of the woods. On the RV ride there they stop at an eerie, run-down gas station populated only by a creepy old man who speaks in riddles. The characters use cheesy, unoriginal dialouge that adheres to their designated personality.
At this point I was genuinely considering leaving the theater and finding another movie to review. I was already in a bad mood, and this looked to be every other horror movie ever created condensed into one. I didn’t have much knowledge beforehand besides that it got glowing reviews and was parody of other horror movies, so I stayed. (I also already paid Regal’s ridiculous fee, so there was no way I was leaving without my money’s worth).
There was one twist keeping the movie’s opening thirty minutes watchable: the kids were being spied on by ‘technicians’ in an underground factory somewhere. These technicians lured the kids into the ‘arena’, and were able to manipulate them by releasing brainwash gases out of the ground. They also surrounded the cabin with an invisible fortress that instantly zapped anything that touched it into dust.
The kids are lured into the basement (“That door just flew open by itself, revealing a pitch-dark basement! Last one to mindlessly run inside is a rotten egg!”) where the technicians watch them investigate a variety of creepy antiques. As it turns out, the antique they choose determines what monster is sent to the woods to eat them. The technicians have pretty much any monster conceivable lined up at the ready. Innocent Dana reads a Latin curse that reawakens a family of ‘hick zombie farmers’, which are much different than normal zombies, the technicians insist.
Ugh, Dana. She had no idea what she was getting into. She’s just an innocent college girl with a pretty face! Who would have thought she had problems too?
Anyway, the hick zombie farmers come and start killing the kids one by one. Still unimpressed, I vowed to not get scared during this part, which apparently did not work because soon I found myself wondering if that dark figure across the theater was actually the axe-wielding, one-armed hick zombie farmer girl. I even started planning an escape route in my head, should it be her. Would she target me first? Would the friend who I was there with ever talk to me again if I abandoned her? Probably not. (Duh, she’d be eaten.)
(This is a reenactment of my face during the hick zombie farmer scenes. Yes I was that scared. Note the panic-stricken eyebrows.)
Only two characters remained roughly an hour into the film, so something was up. Whoa, wait, where’s innocent Dana going?!
Without giving away vital spoilers, innocent Dana managed to unleash literally every horror movie monster ever thought of into the world. Hick zombie farmers just weren’t enough for her! I guess. The monsters go on a rampage, eating everything in sight. By the time the hick zombie farmer girl stumbles into the party, there’s nothing left to dismember! Geez, other monsters! I kind of felt bad for her. She’s my favorite character. I related to her more than the humans.
I don’t even remember how I felt during the movie’s closing third because I was too enraptured by it to think. Whatever I said about cliches earlier – that’s exactly what the movie wants you to think. The film is a purposeful mockery of every other cliché horror movie out there, and creates a safety net for other movies to fall back on. If M. Night Shamalan ever attempts to make another horror movie (Daemon god forbid) he can be all, “Okay, but the technicians were supposed to make it cliché, or else it wouldn’t have made any sense!!”
This movie may have created a monster.
I’m still pretty confused it. Am I supposed to figure it out myself eventually? I bet Chris Hemsworth knows all the answers. I’ll ask him about it later. I’ll text him.
My initial twitter review said, “I feel like no review of Cabin In The Woods could actually review it without somehow penetrating its complex set of pardoying laws.” First off, ew, why’d I use proper grammar in a tweet? That’s disgusting. Unfollow me. Second, that tweet took me around an hour to write, that’s how confused I was.
Third, my tweet is wrong – that very tweet is the only correct review of this film, which makes it wrong because it is right. I don’t feel like Cabin is a movie that should be discussed with someone who has not seen it, but it’s a thought-provoking, clever enigma of a film. I’m surprised it isn’t a bigger hit in the box office than it is. So go see it.
Final rating: I have no clue/5 stars. Hick zombie farmer axe-to-head, I’d give it four stars, and whine about how the movie isn’t perfect because the cliches in the beginning annoyed me too much for it to be perfect. But then a merman out of freakin’ nowhere would impale me with his trident.