The tagline to The Cabin in the Woods implies a level of deception: “You think you know the story.” I can honestly say that this film did not meet my expectations, though I did really enjoy it. It’s true that the story of teenagers isolated in a woodland setting, only to picked off by evil beasties, isn’t exactly a new idea for the horror genre. Luckily, the film doesn’t follow any formula very closely.
There have been several recent releases in the horror-comedy genre, most of which are satirical representations of classic horror formulas. When I arrived at the theater I expected to see a parody film along the lines of Drag Me to Hell or Wes Craven’s Scream. While it’s true that I was treated to some bloody laughs, Cabin in the Woods is not done in the same vein as the films listed above.
I think it is fair to classify Cabin as a horror-comedy offshoot, but saying that doesn’t describe the unique approach fully. It’s really hard to describe Cabin in the Woods, but I think that’s exactly what the filmmakers were going for.
So, what’s it about? Well, it’s really hard to say. The narrative features a story riddled with conspiracy and murder, all of which is presented in an extremely light-hearted tone. On the surface it seems like this is all adding up to a shocking “twist” of an ending. Without spoiling anything, I can promise you that this isn’t the case.
The resolution in Cabin in the Woods is so deliberately bizarre that it’s almost as if the filmmakers were mocking another film trend—the expectation of a shocking ending. Audiences have become accustomed to it, and this movie takes the idea to such an extreme level that one cannot help but laugh at the absurdity.
You will find Cabin in the Woods to be full of laughs, and not just from the excessive gore. If there’s one thing that can be said about this movie, it’s sometimes very funny. This is an incredibly entertaining film that is definitely fun to watch.
Anyone can enjoy watching Cabin in the Woods, but horror fans will take a particular liking to the way the film completely embraces horror clichés. Cabin pokes fun at horror in a lot of ways, but it clearly comes from a place of love.
Despite my immediate praise, this is far from a perfect movie. There are moments so out of place, so completely unfitting of the rest of the film, it seems they were added because the writers had written themselves in a corner. While the narrative of the film isn’t really that important, the way in which it unfolds still leaves much to be desired.
The conspiracy side-story is revealed to the audience from the start, but the character’s discovery of it leads them into an elevator surrounded by horrific beasts. From there they are chased by a swat team, almost killed by a unicorn, and then thrown into a fistfight with Sigourney Weaver.
Sounds pretty crazy, huh? And that’s exactly the problem with this movie. Comedy that features extremely random moments can be very funny in appropriate doses. However, the sheer chaotic nature of the gags is sometimes just too much.
It’s almost as if Drew Goddard and Joss Whedon wrote the script between bong hits. In fact, Cabin in the Woods reminds me a lot of Pineapple Express—it’s that kind of crazy humor, and it doesn’t always work. The stoner humor has its moments of greatness, but towards the end of the film it all really starts to fall short.
Cabin in the Woods may not be perfect, but it’s still a fun film to watch. Make no mistake about it, this film is meant to be funny. If you’re going to the movies expecting to see some scares, then I’d have to recommend you see something else. Go see Cabin in the Woods only if you’re in the mood for some mindless laughs—you’ll find plenty of them.