So a jock and a pot head end up in a cabin in the woods…
What is there to say about The Cabin in the Woods that will not spoil anything? Well its fracking brilliant for one thing. Producer and co-writer Joss Whedon, and director Drew Goddard, truly have out done themselves in a film that is equally about mocking the horror genre and film-going as a whole, as it is crafting a brilliant fantasy horror film.
The film follows the (mis)adventures of a group of teenagers lead by Curt and Dana, respectively played by Chris Hemsworth and Kristen Connolly, as they venture off to a cabin owned by Curt’s cousin for a little summer fun. However, when they come to discover some odd occurrences about the cabin, such as a secret basement or two way mirrors, fear begins to spread. Little do they know that they are about to partake in a horrendous experiment, and come to discover that the cabin is no mere sanctuary- it is a tomb. Literally, this is all I can say about the film without giving away any major spoilers. Being a mere ninety minutes, the film is fast paced and does not waste any time. While this may seem like a bad thing, Goddard manages to tell the story the way he wants while mixing in action and comedy to create a perfect harmony.
However, what makes the film truly clever and unique is the commentary on the horror genre itself. Not since Scream has a horror film been willing to acknowledge its own flaws, yet follow them precisely without missing a beat. Furthermore, without revealing any serious plot points, the film can be a commentary on filmmaking itself, as well as film viewing. Particular characters come to be observers of the horror equally as they are participating in it. However, they are also fully comprehensible of the genre in which they are a part of, and seemingly have no choice but to follow through. The film conveys a sense of dues ex machine, or a plot device used to resolve things by a greater being, and acknowledges that all films follow this due to the director’s viewpoint. Ultimately, The Cabin in the Woods is equally about creating horror as it is mocking the genre and film itself. The plot is brilliant crafted, and leads me to believe that both Drew Goddard and Joss Whedon are true genius’ when it comes to filmmaking.
While the plot is brilliant crafted, it would be nothing without the characters. Fortunately all of the characters are equally well developed in the allotted time period, and come to form the stereotypical horror, or “Scooby-Doo Gang” as I like to call it, while simultaneously breaking these conventions. Chris Hemsworth’s character Curt and Jesse Williams character Holden equally portray the dumb, heroic jocks, as they do in showing a completely different side to these stereotypes. Curt can be clever and thinks on his feet, while Holden is actually quite intelligent and very caring.
The same can be said for Kristen Connolly and Anna Hutchinsen, who play Dana and Jules respectively. While they may seem like innocent ‘dumb blondes’ , a self referential joke made in the beginning when Anna Hutchinson’s character dyes her hair blond for no reason at all, they are also resourceful and strong minded. However, the absolute best character in the the film is Marty, played by Fran Kranz. Marty is the classic stoner character in a horror film. He is constantly hungry and paranoid beyond belief. However, this is what makes the character so amusing for his paranoia causes him to comment on all the typical horror conventions that take place in the film. “Let’s split up,” Curt says at one point in the film. “Really?” Marty retorts while giving him the most ‘Have you ever seen a horror film in your life?’ face (it’s a tough face to pull off, but Kranz does it remarkably well). Marty comes to equally stand for the audience as he does the typical stoner character which makes him the most intriguing, and the most likable. Never the less, all of the characters are strongly written and come to both reflect and mock the typical genre conventions.
A brilliantly crafted film that mocks the horror genre and comes to respectively adopt it; The Cabin in the Woods is equal parts scare as it is commentary. With some clever characters and dialogue, and an intriguing plot twist to top it all off, The Cabin in the Woods is a film that screams cleverness and should be seen by anyone with a love for horror films.