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The Cabin in the Woods

2012 | 95 min | R | 2.39:1

The Cabin in the Woods


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User reviews

2 user reviews

Movie appeal

Dark humor41%



Theatrical release date

 13 April, 2012
 13 April, 2012

Country of origin

 United States

Box office




Overview Preview Cast & crew User reviews News Forum

Screenshots from The Cabin in the Woods Blu-ray

The Cabin in the Woods Preview  

 / 10
Preview by Brian Orndorf, April 12, 2012

Stop me if you’ve heard this one before: dopey college kids, off on a trip to a remote forest getaway for the weekend, encounter a force of evil that picks them off one by one while the barely sober unit makes pathetic survival choices during a hellacious night. Turns out, screenwriters Joss Whedon and Drew Goddard have grown tired of the horror routine, cooking up “The Cabin in the Woods,” a delicious satire of the genre that takes the art of cinematic deconstruction seriously, fusing black comedy and formula into a thoroughly satisfying terror experience. It’s funny, occasionally too silly, but also wildly committed to the bloodshed and jolts gorehounds have come to expect. It’s a smart, nasty picture, reinvigorating stale screenwriting ingredients -- a delirious valentine to slasher archetypes and monster mayhem.

Eager to blow off steam with a trip to a cabin located in the middle of nowhere, jock Curt (Chris Hemsworth), sensitive Holden (Jesse Williams), promiscuous Jules (Anna Hutchinson), stoner Marty (Fran Kranz), and virgin Dana (Kristen Connolly) are ready to party hard, hoping to partake in some chemical and alcohol-drenched activities over the long weekend. Disrupting the festivities is a disturbance in the cellar, bringing the gang into a spooky area housing numerous trinkets and antiques almost begging for an innocent soul to select them for study. Somewhere else, seemingly far away, office drones Richard (Richard Jenkins) and Steve (Bradley Whitford) prepare for duty inside a control room, observing the activities around the cabin with great interest, gradually revealing their malevolent control over the evening’s frightening adventures.

It’s nearly impossible to review a film like “The Cabin in the Woods” due to its high spoiler content. Whedon and Goddard have scripted a feature that treasures the art of surprise, dishing up frequent shocks and left turns, so I’ll keep the details as vague as I can. In short, just see the movie. It’s a total gas, especially for anyone with a passion for horror pictures and their moldy but lovable conventions.

While the knee-jerk reaction is to compare this cheeky feature to the 1996 trend-setter “Scream,” “Cabin in the Woods” is actually more secure in its satire and aggressively apocalyptic in its intent. Whedon and Goddard (who also directs) aren’t merely making fun of horror tropes, they work to turn the entire genre inside out, remixing cliches to fit the film’s subplot with Richard and Steve, two outsiders looking in on the cabin nightmare, attentive to cliche to achieve the precise slasher effect they’ve been assigned to create. Instead of slogging through predictable kills and general disorder featuring zombies, booby traps, and assorted nightmarish creatures, the script savors familiarity, if only because it provides momentary comfort before the production flips the perspective, making the evening’s haunts less about mindless suffering and more about devilish office achievement. Those who enjoy their bloodshed and wicked acts of tasteful parody shall walk away with a belly full of macabre delights.

What’s so wonderful about “Cabin in the Woods” is that the feature isn’t about twists, at least major neck-cracking turns meant to stimulate heart-stopping surprise. The script introduces Richard and Steve right off the bat, making the picture more about processing a steady flow of oddity than waiting for the elaborate trick to revel itself in the final act. The strangeness of the material is immensely satisfying, both in execution and aim, manufacturing a twisted, slow burn tale of sophisticated manipulation that cherishes every layer of disorder, having a grand old time keeping viewers on their toes with subtle deviations from the norm and major revelations concerning the purpose of the cabin and its ease of escape.

“Cabin in the Woods” isn’t smug like “Scream,” abandoning superiority for giddy invention, articulated by a plucky cast guided exceptionally by Goddard, who even manages to make an irritating turn by Kranz (who lays the Shaggy stoner vibe on thick in early scenes) into something special by film’s end. There’s a running joke concerning Steve’s fascination with a merman that’s dreadful, but it’s a small stain on an otherwise sparkling screenplay. The movie is here to play with its audience, creating an infectious energy that builds with every murder, one-liner, and soured office celebration.

Have I written too much? Not enough? That’s the trouble with “The Cabin in the Woods,” which is so loaded with details and deceptions, it’s easy to lose track of the fine line between discussion and disclosure. Considering how deep the plunge of madness goes, it’s difficult to explain anything that goes on in this wild feature in full, so I’ll leave it at this: take a chance on this strange brew. It’s violent and mischievous, an original vision well worth your time and money.

Starring: Richard Jenkins, Bradley Whitford, Chris Hemsworth, Anna Hutchison, Jesse Williams, Kristen Connolly
Director: Drew Goddard

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