Written by: Kristen Lopez, Editor in Chief
**With Cabin in the Woods recently hitting DVD, here’s my original review**
The horror genre has been in a slump for several years, moving from slashers with knives to found footage videos. Director Drew Goddard and co-writer Joss Whedon seem to have found a brand new way to revive the fear with The Cabin in the Woods. In short, GO SEE IT NOW! It not only rewrites the horror genre completely, it mixed comedy with a dark blend of horror that has to be seen to be believed. I can easily see this being on my Best of 2012 list!
Five friends go to a remote cabin for the weekend. Once there they discover the cabin holds secrets far darker then they imagined. When zombies start attacking the group will learn who, or what, is controlling things.
The above synopsis might be brief but to go any further would risk telling you some key parts of the plot (although if you’ve seen ANY trailers a key piece has already been revealed). Goddard and Whedon use the hour and 45 minute runtime to craft a movie that takes a simple cabin and turns it into a “killing floor” the likes you’ve never seen. Whedon and Goddard go all the way back to classical mythology in their retelling of a movie where most expect hot kids to get killed real good. Cabin in the Woods isn’t a spoof nor is it a straight-up scary movie. The script and premise are wholly unique but they do attempt to provide answers for those typical horror tropes like “Why is there always a creepy hillbilly,” or “Why is it always these five types of characters in these movies.”
I’m not sure how many Whedon fans are reading this but Cabin in the Woods is a launch pad for long-time Whedon actors to propel into the mainstream. Fran Kranz is the scene-stealer playing the loveable stoner Marty. Not only is he the smartest one of the group, but he cements the new breed of leading man in films; one who isn’t prided on for his looks but for being a decent human being. Kristen Connolly enters as the newest scream queen and is on par with Jamie Lee Curtis in Halloween. She’s a character you root for, as espoused by one of the characters in the film itself. She’s sweet and doe-eyed but she’s not a doormat or a weeper like other females in this genre. Richard Jenkins, Bradley Whitford, and fellow Whedonite Amy Acker also provide a strong secondary story as well.
Audiences who hate Whedon will say I’m overly praising this movie as I’m a Whedon fan myself, and that’s partially true. The film isn’t without its flaws but their minor. The remaining three friends, played by Chris Hemsworth (pre-Thor), Anna Hutchinson, and Jesse Williams aren’t as dynamic as Connolly and Kranz. The first two play the jock and the bombshell. They’re character tropes the actors are forced into through a series of events and the remaining characters say how odd they’re acting, yet you only get about five second in the beginning of them acting any differently. A character can say “Kurt isn’t that guy” but we don’t see him being any other way. The weakest link is Jesse Williams as the “nerd” Holden. I didn’t even remember his name by the end because he’s as boring as watching paint dry. He has no emotion and while he’s supposedly studying to be a doctor, he fades into the background.
To say more would sully the experience but in summation, The Cabin in the Woods is a wonder and a revelation. It’s the shot in the arm the horror genre has been waiting for. See it, see it with friends, and then see it again!
Author: Kristen Lopez, Editor in Chief
Kristen Lopez is the editor-in-chief of CC2K and a freelance pop culture essayist. Her work has appeared on Roger Ebert, The Hollywood Reporter, and The Daily Beast. When she’s not burning down Film Twitter she runs two podcasts, the female-centric film show Citizen Dame, and the classic film-themed Ticklish Business.