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The Cabin in the Woods

A movie directed by Drew Goddard

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Macabre Humor and Jump Scares...Horror Comedy Done Right!

  • Apr 14, 2012
One of the names that is almost guaranteed to make me want to see a movie (or read a comic book) is Joss Whedon. Despite the less-than-impressive trailers, this was why I’ve decided to take a chance with “The Cabin in the Woods” and honestly, I really did not know what to expect. Once you see the opening title reel, you would know exactly what you are in for. It would be easy to dismiss it as a horror B-movie romp with some twisted touches and macabre humor around it. Yeah, the film is all of the above and it is also something different; but whatever it is, while it does have more grim humor around it than actual scares, “The Cabin in the Woods” does what it is intended to do….very well.

                       Jesse Williams as Holden McCrea, Chris Hemsworth as Curt Vaughan, Anna Hutchison as Jules Louden and Fran Kranz as Marty Mikalski in ``The Cabin in the Woods.''

The film has your basic set up, you have 5 of your usual college kids going on a weekend getaway. There’s the jock Curt (Chris Hemsworth, Thor) with this hot girlfriend Jules (Anna Hutchison, Power Rangers: Jungle Fury-the yellow ranger gets naked here, I know right?) the group stoner and clown, Marty (Fran Kranz), a brainy athlete named Holden (Jesse Williams) and of course, there is the genuinely “innocent” girl, Dana (Kristen Connolly) who is just getting over a bad break up. All in all, these are the staples for sex, blood and gore and as soon as they reach our isolated destination things will get going as it seems like they are being watched by two guys, Sitterson and Hadley (Richard Jenkins and Bradley Whitford) affiliated with a ’secret’ organization. Trust me, these are not spoilers, this is all about a major set up for a grisly horror film that movies such as “Scream” and “Hatchet” wish they could be….

                      Fran Kranz as Marty, Chris Hemsworth as Curt and Anna Hutchison as Jules in ``The Cabin in the Woods.''

                     Richard Jenkins as Sitterson, Amy Acker as Lin and Bradley Whitford as Hadley in ``The Cabin in the Woods.''

Being responsible for the TV series “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” and “Angel”, the screenplay of the film carries that Joss Whedon touch and then some. Drew Goddard was the guy who wrote “Cloverfield” and this is his directorial debut. There are clichés aplenty both in its plot and characters; I mean the film is so simple and yet, the way the screenplay and direction flowed was able to engage me with what was going on in the screen. It was sincerely trying to make fun of itself or what we would call horror clichés. The film’s dialogue and humor has a lot to do with the film’s enjoyment. The film goes about this ‘charm’ that embody what we usually look for in a classic slasher film/supernatural flick. I mean, much of the film’s fun comes from trying to resist a stupid horror cliché and yet, it gives the viewer enough fun because of the reasons why the teens still stoop to such stupidity.

There are tributes to “Rear Window”, “HellRaiser”, “Paranormal Activity”, the Japanese horror flicks “Ju-On” and “Silk” and even “Dead Silence” and “Saw”. But Goddard was able to keep the references to a minimum since I am pretty sure the filmmakers did not want the film to wallow in such cheap commentary. There is a point to all of this, Goddard and Whedon is trying to say things that bad people may indeed be behind such things, and indeed such things can be real. Yet, we as the audience are attracted to the lure of certain elements and so while the killing may be serving a purpose, it does not make them right but having fun while doing it may indeed lessen the effect. I am not sure if what I wrote down made any sense.

                       Kristen Connolly as Dana Polk and Jesse Williams as Holden McCrea in ``The Cabin in the Woods.''

                       Kristen Connolly as Dana in "The Cabin in the Woods."

Be that as it may, the direction manages to capitalize on every bit of its screenplay to blend its wild blend of macabre horror, grim humor and gruesome images of dismemberment. The film is pretty bloody and gory; the creature designs are reminiscent of the creatures that we’ve come to be used to with some unexpected twists to their characters. The one complaint I may have would be that the kills weren’t specially that inventive, but as I’ve said, it may have been its intention. What drove the film was not exactly its kill scenes but rather how it meshes its ideas into one inventive framework that felt very solid in its execution. Even with the stupidity of its characters, they felt real sincere and they all managed to connect. Chris Hemsworth did feel a little out of place as he particularly stood out, but it was a minor thing that I chose to ignore.

                       Chris Hemsworth as Curt, Jesse Williams as Holden, Anna Hutchison as Jules, Fran Kranz as Marty and Kristen Connolly as Dana in ``The Cabin in the Woods.''

“The Cabin in the Woods” is one film that may not command as much attention as “Tremors” or “Slither” when it comes to this kind of films, but there is so much to like about the film that one would be hard-pressed to nit-pick its flaws. Those who are very familiar with horror will have a good time with the final act as it had a lot of easter eggs that added to its novelty, but those who aren’t are set to enjoy the scares, the humor and the banter as the script unravels itself. It is one good, fun horror romp that everyone should not pass up, and worth seeing at least once.

Recommended! [4- Out of 5 Stars]

Poster art for "The Cabin in the Woods." Poster art for "The Cabin in the Woods."
Macabre Humor and Jump Scares...Horror Comedy Done Right!

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April 16, 2012
" I am not sure if what I wrote down made any sense."......you crack me up Will! This sounds like an interesting twist to a horror movie - it's about time a horror can be comical and still good at the same time. This is on my "to see" list! Great review as always!!
April 17, 2012
I think you will like this one. It was pretty fun...yeah, sometimes, I am not even sure if what I type makes any sense.....LOL!
April 18, 2012
Yeah this sounds like a good one for me. LOL - I'm kind of glad you wrote that statement about not being sure you were making sense, because I had to read the previous sentence twice and wasn't sure I was getting it...then I saw that and thought "Well if he doesn't even know if it makes sense, I won't worry about it!" I guess that was easier for you than trying to re-write it to make sense! LMAO -- you're comical...
April 18, 2012
Put simply "it is how some people can find enjoyment in other's suffering" but I liked what I wrote better since there is a twisted humor in the delivery LOL! You know I don't write  to impress anyone with my writing, I just write what I feel at the time :)
April 16, 2012
Glad to hear that this was good WP, I will be going to check this out. Also I liked "Hatchet".
April 17, 2012
meh. "Hatchet" always has different reactions from people. Wanted to like it, tried to like it....but it was just not funny. Hatchet was better than "Hachet 2" though LOL
April 14, 2012
Great review as always. why can't John be mORE like you. LOL. LOL.
April 14, 2012
hahah. I have to say, this movie may not be perfect but it sure was fun along the lines of "Slither", "Eight Legged Freaks" and "Tremors". It is the kind of horror comedy that "Hatchet" wishes it was....
April 14, 2012
I agree. I think you also have to be familiar with the whole 'horror' genre to get all those creatures. They were all from past horror films right?
April 14, 2012
Yeah. It was really nice to see them--they were an homage to all those horror creatures of the past as well as supernatural creatures taken from myth. Pretty clever how they all made them work in the final act. I loved it when the characters expressed displeasure on following the horror cliches LOL!
April 14, 2012
Brilliant. That's one of the reasons John missed the whole thing. He so doesn't watch horror films. The Japanese ones are my favorite so I loved the whole japanese ref. in the film
April 14, 2012
I enjoyed those parts too. Ok, catch you later, I am off to see "Stooges"....friend is dragging me along.
More The Cabin in the Woods (2012 f... reviews
review by . April 19, 2012
posted in Movie Hype
The "plot" of THE CABIN IN THE WOODS is a classic cliché of horror films: a group of five friends travels to a cabin in the woods out in the middle of nowhere that is supposedly owned by a cousin of one of the friends. There's a jock, a slutty girl, a scholar, a stoner, and an innocent. The trip to the cabin is really spooky complete with a run-down gas station where the group stops for a fill-up and to make sure their directions to the cabin are correct. Once they get to the …
review by . April 14, 2012
posted in Movie Hype
Star Rating:         “I love being scared.” So said Joss Whedon in an interview with Total Film regarding The Cabin in the Woods, which he produced and co-wrote with director Drew Goddard. “The things that I don’t like are kids acting like idiots, the devolution of the horror movie into torture porn and into a long series of sadistic comeuppances. Drew and I both felt that the pendulum had sung a little too far in that direction.” When …
review by . April 13, 2012
posted in Movie Hype
'The Cabin In The Woods' 'Two Jews On Film' Only One Gets Chills (Video)
            By Joan Alperin Schwartz      'The Cabin In The Woods', written by Josh Whedon (Buffy The Vampire Slayer & Avengers) and Drew Goddard (Cloverfield) who also directed, is one of the most clever horror films I've seen in a really long time.      Okay, without giving too much away, here's the scenerio...Five friends go to a remote cabin in the woods and really horrible things start …
Quick Tip by . April 12, 2012
posted in Movie Hype
Hey!     This movie is awesome and anyone looking for a little more insight into the film should check out my geek-tastic interview with director, Drew Goddard.    http://www.blacksheepreviews.blogspot.ca/201...views-drew-goddard.html    Enjoy!
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William ()
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Please "Like" Film and Movies and Keep the Economy strong....LOL!!      My Interests: Movies, Anime, History, Martial Arts, Comics, Entertainment,Cooking, Things I don't … more
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