THE CABIN IN THE WOODS – a story about a group of college students that have a get away in a relative’s secluded cabin. Little do they know that they are part of an evil plot that puts their lives in danger. It was shot in 2009, but just hit theaters this weekend. ’THE CABIN’ stars Kristen Connolly, Chris Hemsworth, Richard Jenkins, Bradley Whitford, Brian White and Fran Kranz as Marty.
When I saw the teaser trailer a while back, this movie looked like a typical slasher film. But in proceeding trailers, I saw quick shots of some type of technology in action, and dudes that looked like researchers. That’s what changed my mind and convinced me to go. Watch the trailer:
This film had good acting, good writing and good directing. The sets were fine, and the special effects were pretty on point. There really wasn’t a dull moment to speak of. So why am I ‘eh-eh’ about it? First of all, I went into the theater expecting an official scary movie. Granted, I don’t get scared much anymore, but I thought it was going to have that true horror movie tone. As it turned out, this film was more of a Comedy-Horror. Not like SHAUN OF THE DEAD, but more like THE EVIL DEAD, or SCREAM… definitely more THE EVIL DEAD. It didn’t try to make you laugh, it just had plenty of funny moments. It didn’t try to make you scared either, even thought it had plenty of monsters (there were moments). So yeah, I was duped by the advertising campaign.
What I had a problem with was the ending. I won’t spoil it, but I was just left thinking it should have ended different. Again, you can’t see this movie with your serious scare-cap on. You have to go with no assumptions.
Dana, played by Kristen Connolly, was the main protagonist. She’s a good girl, but a little hurt by a previous relationship. Her and her friends Jules, Curt, Marty and Holden visits Curt’s cousin’s woodland cabin. Lucky for Dana, Holden is willing to mend a broken heart. But for all of them, this is not like any spring break they’ve experienced before. They seem to be a part of an experiment, performed by the guys in white shirts that we see from the opening shot. I won’t give you any details, but suffice it to say, just when the college youths start to get their party on, things get real hairy real fast.
Chris Hemsworth played Curt, the muscly but smart boyfriend of slightly trampy Jules (it wasn’t her fault). Hemsworth was a bit younger in this than THOR. That threw me off, until I learned that the movie was shot a few years ago, but got held up on its way to a theatrical release.
The comedy was exceptionally delivered by Fran Kranz as the weed-head Marty. Fortunately, the substance abusing that Marty casually partook in allowed him to think about their situation from a ‘different’ perspective. The rest of the comedy was served very darkly by the talented Richard Jenkins and Bradley Whitford as Sitterson and Hadley.
Joss Whedon and Drew Goddard developed a very original idea for the story. Their dialog hit most all of the notes which added to it overall. Goddard’s directing also came through, especially going from juxtaposing moments of comedy and horror. The special effects and cinematography worked too. I know giving this movie such praise is confusing, considering how I left the theater… unsettled. All I can say is that, being it was such an original idea, CABIN headed into directions that made me think ‘What the Heck?’ It did succeed in paying homage to many horror movie sub-genres of the past. For that I also give it points.
CABIN IN THE WOODS had a lot going for it, but for me it missed a couple of steps. There will be those of you in geekdom that will relish this film. Go see it if you are a real fan of the other movies I mentioned above. But you can definitely pass on it if you like your horror prepared in a more traditional dish. Geek Soul Brother gives THE CABIN IN THE WOODS 3.0 out of 5 COSMIC AFROS.
Update: I bumped up my rating a little because I think more people will like it than not, and I don’t want to turn fans away for the wrong reason.