Verdict: 4 / 5
You’ve seen this before, it’s an age-old formula: A handful of good-looking college students plan a weekend of parting in the remote part of the woods. Amongst the hapless group you have the usual – the good “virgin” girl, the tarty blonde, the hunky jock, the nice guy and the fool. They discover something creepy that awakens an ancient evil, which begins killing them off one by one. And just when The Cabin in the Woods finishes the joke, it turns everything on its head and brings on something we’ve never seen before.
The Horror movie genre is often crammed with stereotypes and lackluster scripts. Thankfully veteran writers Joss Whedon (Avengers) and Drew Goddard (Cloverfield) deconstruct the genre like never before. With a playful sense of mischief, playing into the usual clichés, Cabin in the Woods is very self-aware and tongue-in-cheek, much like Scream and The Evil Dead – except much more spectacular. Can you laugh and be afraid at the same time? Goddard proves you can.
The Cabin in the Woods is most effective when the viewer knows very little about the plot. The best way to enjoy it is to be completely unprepared (avoid the trailers). The poster warns you upfront; “You think you know the story…”. But the honest truth is that you have no idea. But look… there is the creepy cabin in the creepy forest, there is the creepy unfriendly hillbilly at an old gas station, there is creepy old cellar filled with creepy relics, there is the creepy painting in the equally creepy room… it’s all here. Yet, even after all the familiar themes are exposed – you have no idea.
The Cabin in the Woods pays tribute and homage to a very stale and dying (excuse the pun) genre. It never fails to be funny and horrifying. Even if you’ve seen this before – even if you’ve seen it over and over again – even if you have seen it a million times – you have yet to see anything like The Cabin in the Woods.