Recently revisiting the ‘horror’ film The Cabin In The Woods, I got reminded, once again, this film is pure genius and an amazing accomplishment; It pokes fun at horror films while presenting the thing it ‘s poking fun at, at the same time creating an endless loop in the process, the irony is the main course. The film’s creators started by collecting every horror-movie trope, cliche, and stereotype available. It’s all here; college-age types looking for a fun break from school, the lonely far-from-civilization-location, dark environs, the murdering creeps, and monsters, there’s even a Lovecraftian cult of evil old-god worshippers in place. What makes this film pure genius is. All of this done in service to poking fun at horror movies and all the tropes, cliches, and stereotypes that populate them in general while at the same time slipping in a horror story of their own that explains all of the other horror stories ever made in a most amusing, delightful, and engaging fashion.
The Cabin in the Woods is a 2012 American horror comedy film directed by Drew Goddard in his directorial debut, produced by Joss Whedon, and written by Whedon and Goddard who the film reunited after they had worked together previously on the Buffy The Vampire Slayer and Angel TV shows. Rumor has it the pair wrote the screenplay in three days.
The film stars Kristen Connolly, Chris Hemsworth, Anna Hutchison, Fran Kranz, Jesse Williams, Richard Jenkins, and Bradley Whitford. The plot follows a group of college students who retreat to a remote forest cabin where they fall victim to backwoods zombies and the technicians who manipulate events from an underground facility, eventually leading to all hell busting loose.
The simple plot, like the title, is somewhat misleading, and hinges on a major twist revealed relatively early in the film. In a high tech underground facility, evil-cult member controllers Sitterson and Hadley discuss plans for a mysterious operation. A similar scheme undertaken by their counterparts in Stockholm has just recently failed. Things continue to get more complicated for the unfortunate, and incompetent pair until their demise.
The film accomplishes what it sets out to do, and does it well; using nothing but horror movie tropes, stereotypes, and cliches we have all seen before in every type of horror films or stories ever told for years, decades, and even centuries. The sheer simplicity and utter genius of making use of so simple a premise is impressively creative. Poking fun at the very thing you are creating, is so full of irony it boggles my tiny nerd’s brain each time I dwell on the idea of the film’s writers creating the alchemy that somehow successfully transforms B movie tropes into witty cinematic gold.
The film was initially slated for release on February 5, 2010, by Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer and United Artists, but in another horror story if its own got indefinitely shelved due to financial difficulties. In 2011, Lionsgate picked up the distribution rights. The film premiered on March 9, 2012, at the South by Southwest film festival in Austin, Texas and was released in the United States on April 13, 2012, grossing over $66 million worldwide.
The Cabin In The Woods is an excellent, witty, darkly amusing, engaging and yes, even delightfully scary for a few moments movie. The review aggregator website Rotten Tomatoes gave the film a rating of 91%, based on 271 reviews, with an average score of 7.9/10. The site’s critical consensus reads, “The Cabin in the Woods is an astonishing meta-feat, capable of being funny, strange, and scary — frequently all at the same time.” In case it wasn’t made abundantly clear; I agree whole-heartedly.