“The Cabin in the Woods” takes a trite idea and really gives it a unique look and clever spin. There are so many movies that use the typical story about college students that go to a remote place and get slaughtered. The fun part comes from watching the twists and turns that make it all come together in a truly awesome and Lovecraftain tale.
The story follows five typical college students, which reminded me of Scooby and the gang. They go up to the mountains to party at what looks like the cabin from “The Evil Dead.” Little do they know, there are technicians watching their every move. There is certainly something more sinister going on. The question is, will the young co-eds live to find out what it is?
The most annoying thing this movie did was create a stereotypical stoner and slut character. These two characters were so stupidly by-the-book, it seemed out of place for this movie. This is the sort of eye-rolling crap that you’d think a self-aware movie would be able to work around. However, it falls into the same trite trap that all the other horror movies before it have fallen. It’s not the worst thing though since these characters are only a couple of ingrown hairs on the glorious mane of an otherwise fun movie.
The movie is written really well. The dialogue is quick and exactly what you’d expect from a Joss Whedon film. There are lots of themes of other movies that you will catch if you happen to be a horror buff as well. There are subtle and not so subtle references to “The Evil Dead”, “Hellraiser” and “The Grudge”. If you are a reader of H.P. Lovecraft, this movie is right up your alley.
The acting is okay. For the most part it was enough to get by with the acting of relative newcomers and Chris Hemworth. As college kids, I found them to get quickly annoying. However, that might have been how they were written, as this movie does seem to be very self-aware. The characters that steal the show are the technicians Richard Sitterson, played by Richard Jenkins, and Steve Hadley played by, Bradley Whitford. Their dialogue is top notch and they play so well off one another. The movie could have been all about them and still been great. They take the mood of moderate thrills and make it a comedy in a split second. It really makes for a fun bit of mood transition, though at times it takes you out of the movie.
In truth, the thing that I think hinders this movie might be the effects. The CGI, at some points, is pretty bad. It would have been nice if they decided to go ahead and work out the details and perhaps spend more of the budget on effects because some of the creative ideas they were clearly going for are borderline genius. The ending is also something I would have probably altered a tad. However, that is just nitpicking that I won’t go into here.
The fact of the matter is “The Cabin in the Woods” takes one of the most overused ideas in horror today and adds a dash of the mythos of Lovecraft that makes this story both funny and creepy. Is it scary? Not really. The scales certainly fall more towards the side of dark comedy. Still, it’s completely worth seeing and I recommend it highly. It’s fun and it shows a lot of creativity and love of the subject matter.