We've all seen scary movies where a group of young friends decide to take a weekend vacation in the woods or some other isolated area. They almost always consist of characters like the jock, the slut, the black guy and the virgin. Not only that, but you get to the point where you can predict much of what's going to take place. The Cabin in the Woods has some of those same qualities and characters that you're used to seeing, but it is a little bit different... or maybe a lot different.
In The Cabin in the Woods, five friends decide to get together and travel to a remote cabin in the woods for the weekend. Everything starts off as well as they would have hoped, but that doesn't last long once strange things begin to go down. Now these friends find themselves in a fight for their lives as they hope to escape the dangers of the woods and return home before it's too late.
The Cabin in the Woods is a film that doesn't even explain much early on since it throws right in the middle of whatever's happening. That's done purposely since they clearly don't want you to know at that point. When it comes to the twists in the plot and who gets taken out, I was able to guess some of what happens just by watching the commercial. Even then, I was unable to predict most of what I was about to see.
Right off the bat you're going to be wondering who certain people really are and what they mean to the story. As the film progresses, you're able to find out the whole story and what's going on over time. At their own pace, they allow everything to be carefully unwrapped for us piece by piece during that time and I guarantee that you won't get everything right on your own. In many cases, I doubt too many people will be able to figure out everything that's occurring until they eventually let you know at the right moments.
The movie is a bit of a breath of fresh air even though they're using plenty of things that have been done in horror films on multiple occasions. There's a ton of blood and gore and you even have some of those stereotypical scary movie characters included in it. The difference with The Cabin in the Woods is that it takes many of those things and adds several unique and/or unusual aspects to the film as a whole. They even found a way to inject a small amount of Japanese horror into it.
The characters themselves are a mix of comedic and serious people who are plugged into the story. Just about all of them are animated and personable regardless of which category they fall into. The blend of comedy and seriousness from the various people in the movie go together perfectly with the violence and the film's overall concept.
If you've read my About me/contact info section, you would know that I try my best to never include spoilers in any of my reviews. This review will be no exception, but I do bring this up for a specific reason. One of the absolute critical reasons why this movie succeeds is because of the stuff that I won't allow myself to talk about in this review. I would love to point out some extra details of the film's plot, but I'd be giving too much away for some as far as the surprises go.
I will say that The Cabin in the Woods is an entertaining and absorbing movie, because you don't know what predicament is going to materialize next for these youngsters. It's also helped by the fact that the entire movie is done with a healthy amount of energy. Like basically every other horror film, this wasn't scary to me. I did like this however, and it's a strong movie that the horror genre will benefit from having. You can tell that the people behind the making of this movie put plenty of effort into what they brought to the big screen and that's something that I respect and appreciate as a movie fan.
A movie filled with clichés that we're all used to may frequently be looked at as a bad attribute in many cases. That's definitely true more often than not, but for films like The Cabin in the Woods or even 21 Jump Street, that argument wouldn't stand up well at all. They took common commodities and made them into their own by adding some new concepts and embracing what made movies from those specific genres great. If more movies with the same stories and plots were like this, the world of film would be much better off.
Director: Drew Goddard
Film Length: 95 minutes
Release Date: April 13, 2012