Release Date: April 13, 2012
Genre(s): Horror, Comedy
Cast: Kristen Connolly, Chris Hemsworth, Anna Hutchinson, Fran Kranz, Jesse Williams
Director: Drew Goddard
Writer(s): Drew Goddard, Joss Whedon
Running Time: 95 minutes
Synopsis: Five college students embark in their RV for a relaxing weekend at a secluded cabin in the woods. Shortly after their arrival, all hell breaks loose and the young adults fight for survival against supernatural forces. They begin getting the sense they are being watched by a higher power, and decipher that the attacks are part of something much bigger.
It’s incredibly difficult review this film without spoiling it. Although the “secrets” essentially start rolling out as soon as the film opens, I’d prefer to keep readers in the dark because this is one film you definitely want to go into blind. I’ve been following the production of this film since it’s inception a few years ago and managed to remain mostly clueless about the fine details. Before we go any further, it’s necessary that you gather all your preconceived notions about this film and completely toss them out—The Cabin in the Woods mocks and shreds all cliches.
The horror genre has been mostly churning out some stale material, save for a few directors and writers who are passionately attempted to reanimate the genre to it’s former, bloody glory. Being a huge fan of horror films, I can tell you this isn’t so much a horror movie as it is a love letter to fans of the genre—and a hate letter to the filmmakers that tarnished it. There are a few scares, but you’ll find yourself smiling more than anything else. The laughs are more plentiful than the screams, as this film completely turns the “teenagers in a remote cabin” trope on it’s head—and it’s genius in it’s approach.
Drew Goddard and Joss Whedon really wear their hearts on their sleeves here. Their passion, respect, and admiration for the horror genre is clear and apparent in every minute of Cabin in the Woods. The script is incredibly well-polished and expertly crafted, littered with brilliance; not since Evil Dead II has the genre been so creatively bent in and out of shape. You’d be hard-pressed to find a more intelligent horror film, especially in the past fifteen years—twenty-four hours after seeing it, I’m still uncovering hidden gems. This is the first film I’ve watched this year that I wanted to immediately see again. I’m already dying for the Blu-ray.
This film marks Goddard’s directorial debut, and he really knows how to make an entrance. So far I’ve really enjoyed his writing for the two films he’s worked on(the other being Cloverfield), so it’s good to see how capable he is when handling things from behind the camera. The cast do an amazing job here as well; Kristen Connolly and Fran Kranz especially. Connolly’s Dana is a likeable, smart, and adorable heroine, while Kranz’ Marty is a surprisingly bright stoner with great comedic timing. Chris Hemsworth shines as the doomed hero, Curt, who takes the alpha male cliche and introduces some much needed intelligence. The rest of the cast is rounded out by Anna Hutchinson and Jesse Williams, who both give some fresh new insight into their cliched characters as well. The effects are top notch also; the film seemed to be editing gore in the beginning but relished in it during the third act. Norman Cabrera and his crew at AFX Studio really outdid themselves, especially with many of the more spoilery scenes. I wish I could say more! Grrrrrr!
Cabin in the Woods is a damn good time, not just for horror fans, but everyone. I realize I didn’t go into too much detail during this review, but I refuse to apologize for that since it’s for the benefit of all who have yet to see this film. The tagline “you think you know the story” is perfect; many people will ignorantly assume they know the plot to this film and possibly not see it. I’m giving you a heads-up—do not do that to yourself! Buy your fucking ticket, sit your ass in that cushioned, glorified folding chair, and prepare for your face to hurt from all the smiling that will ensue. And the face-raping, because this film will do that too. It’s okay though, it face-rapes you with awesomeness.