The Cabin in the Woods Review
I am a big fan of horror movies. While I did only start watching them 7 years ago ’cause I’m a little bitch, I got hooked immediately and haven’t stopped for a while. If you read my review of them you would know that my favorite series of films is the Evil Dead trilogy, and that is what this movie feels like; A spiritual successor to the Sam Raimi classics in the best possible way.
Sing along if you know the words. 5 college kids: The jock, the nerd, the dumb blonde, the stoner and the virgin all go out to a cabin in the woods for a weekend of drugs, alcohol and sex. When the get there they find some shit in the cellar that summons some kind of evil, in this case a family of pain worshiping hillbillies, who then proceed to pick them off one by one. While the kids do fit the generic horror movies roles it is only on a cosmetic level. The jock is at that school on an academic scholarship, the nerd is good at football and has a decent body, the virgin was just dumped by a teacher she had slept (or did something) with, the dumb blonde isn’t that dumb and the stoner… well, he’s just a stoner. They all don’t start becoming the stock characters we’ve come to know and love over the years until they get to the titular cabin.
Now here’s where things get a bit tricky. See, this movie is all about its twists. At certain points throughout the movie some new thing is revealed that adds some new to layer to the preceding and proceeding events that helps flesh out the world of the movie and make everything make a bit more sense. All of these twists are really interesting and it makes the movie that much better, but it presents a problem for people like me who have to review the movie. The problem being that we can’t really explain what makes this movie so awesome without spoiling something. So from this point on I am issuing a SPOILER WARNING to anyone reading this review. I am going to spoil one thing that happens near the beginning of the movie and that was kind of given away in the trailer for the movie. Anything else I feel needs mentioning I will be talking about in as vague of terms as I can. You have been warned.
So all the kids get to the cabin and start to degrade into their stereotypes because all of this was a setup. Some people have manipulated events to get these kids up to this cabin and, using various chemicals and technology, turn the kids into walking horror movie cliches and push them towards the plot points of your standard horror movie. These people are a big chunk of the film, with quite a few scenes taking place inside their facility. And that’s where a lot of the humor happens in this movie. Much like Evil Dead II and Army of Darkness this film is a horror comedy. When the kids are in the cellar and summon the stab happy pig fuckers it cuts to the control room where everyone had placed bets on what monstrosities would be summoned. But there is some comedy to be had outside of the control room. This is mainly done at the expense of the stoner, yelling at voices that aren’t there and then obeying them or pointing out the stupidity of classic horror mistakes. The bit in the trailer where Chris Hemsworth, the jock, says they should all stick together before getting dosed with something and saying they should all split up is immediately followed by the stoner pointing out how stupid that is.
While the comedy is good the horror isn’t that bad, either. The zombie rednecks look really good (well, as good as a zombie can look) and the cabin looks straight ripped out of Evil Dead. These zombies are also just fucking brutal. The big poppa zombie’s main weapon is a bear trap on the end of a chain that he just flings at people with reckless abandon and usually gets it right on their backs. Now while I have never actually had a bear trap thrown into my back by an inbred undead I would have to imagine that it would hurt like a motherfucker, and the actors get that point across pretty well. Hemsworth and the other four (because I really have never heard of any of the other kids’ actors before seeing this movie) act they are in a classic horror movie and sell it pretty well. They scream in terror and pain as one might expect and are pretty good at dying in overly violent ways. If this had just been a straight up horror movie, while losing some the charm the comedy brings to it, I think it would still be totally watchable.
The Cabin in the Woods has successfully accomplished two goals it didn’t set out to accomplish: 1) Got me more psyched for the Avengers movie than any of the trailers have and 2) Made my expectations for the upcoming Evil Dead skyrocket to the point where that movie can only disappoint. This movie is pure horror/comedy gold. The horror side is nice, bloody and kinda stupid just like every good horror movie is and the comedy side is funny as hell, playing off horror movie conventions and just being funny. This movie is a must see. Shacks called his game of the year early with Journey, I’m calling my movie of the year early with The Cabin in the Woods… or at the very least it’s on my shortlist.
Final Score: 5/5