The Cabin in the Woods (2012) isolates itself from the horror pack

Photo Credit: The Cabin in the Woods / Lionsgate
We've got the virgin, baked weirdo, collegiate scholar, jock and his blond girlfriend heading out to a typical summer getaway of truth or dare, making out, and oh yeah - getting slaughtered in a cabin in the woods.

Only it's not quite the typical horror flick we are used to. Behind the scenes of the isolated retreat, unknown personnel in an underground facility (Richard Jenkins and Bradley Whitford) are at the helm of controlling the killer destiny of these innocent young adults.

The Cabin in the Woods is probably the closest thing to setting up what Scream left behind; a torture flick that lets you be the sadist indulging in characters being brutally killed, and the masochist of understanding the ritual of the slaughter. These types of movies let you step into the characters' shoes of being chased and tortured, and also breaks the fourth wall to let audiences know know it's a movie; not entirely real, and if can be pulled off, campy and cheesy.

And, cheesy this movie is. Some scenes you've seen over and over before like the abandoned gas shack with a toothless joe who warns the group of imminent doom. The dialogue is a reminder of the B-rated flicks we all gawk at with scary deadly monsters that lurk in the dark corner. Its script leads a teasing suspense of who will eat it next, who will survive, and it really takes the characters of cliche stereotypes and elevates them to a point where you root for them all - even the maniacal mice behind the magic.

I wouldn't say I am a worshiper of Joss Whedon - director of The Avengers and maverick creator to tv shows like Firefly and Buffy - who served as a co-writer. But this was the first viewing experience of one of his projects that I could finally see what his fans rave about.

Though not exactly the perfect horror flick for a new generation as many movie goers exclaimed it to be, Drew Goddard's' film is pretty darn close. If you like gore, there are plenty of scenes with zombies and dead creature wielding knives and bear trappers into their victims. And, if you like creative storytelling this world has just enough to take it in...though on deeper levels I thought it could have explored a bit further.

The third act revelation - with an amazing cameo by one of by one of sci-fi thrillers biggest icons (and I won't spoiler who this person is) - becomes a bit messy. It manages to tie the film together and helps us understand the merciless sacrifices of these characters yet also proves to be a bit underwhelming.

Overall, The Cabin in the Woods is a constructive criticism about what we love about the horror genre (suspense & sense of humor) and what we don't (characters simply behaving stupidly). We all like that mixture of thrills following characters to a deadly place of no return. We want them to survive yet want to delve into a place somewhere dark and terrifying. It's an enjoyable movie that pays homages to the horror genre of years gone by that has long since been replaced with torture porn and pure sadism.
Rating: ★★☆
Have you seen The Cabin in the Woods? What did you think?

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