A Spoiler-Less Review of the Thriller
Maximilian Mares, Contributer
Five friends go into a cabin in the woods, bad stuff happens. I swear at one point in time that was the plot description for the new horror movie The Cabin in the Woods. Now having seen it, there’s honestly no better way to put it. At least without spoiling something.
You see, here’s the deal with The Cabin in the Woods. This is about three years old and marks the directional debut of Drew Goddard. Some of you may recognize the name as that guy who wrote episodes for Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Angel, Alias, Lost, and the 2008 shaky cam horror movie, Cloverfield. Goddard is also known for working with Joss Whedon, of Buffy fame, amongst a long list of other nerdom favorites. You might want to remember Whedon, as he’s the director for the upcoming Avengers movie.
But why three years? The delay is certainly confusing considering that it was set to release only a year after Goddard’s rather successful Cloverfield. Logically, there should be no reason to shelf the movie. Unless the studio wishes to convert it to 3D and then goes bankrupt. Following the whole 3D trend, MGM initially delayed Cabin to convert it, much to the protest of Goddard and Whedon. Luckily for us, that whole money-sucking attempt failed and Cabin is being only shown in 2D. Still, the movie was set back as MGM dealt with its bankruptcy. At one point in time the movie was “delayed indefinitely.” But thankfully Lionsgate acquired the film and Cabin saw its world premiere at this year’s SXSW.
Now how the hell is this at all relevant to my review of the movie? It isn’t. It really isn’t. I can’t think of any possible way to review with movie without telling you something that would ruin a moment, no matter how minor it is. Hell, I can’t even tell you what the opening sequence is because it sure as hell was not what I was expecting.
At the most, I can tell you it’s about five (presumed) college students going into a cabin in the woods for a break. Two of them are female, Kristen Connolly and Anna Hutchison (a former Power Rangers Jungle Fury addit\ion), and three are male—one being Chris Hemsworth of Thor. The other two, Fran Kranz (who plays my, and probably many others’, favorite character) and Jesse Williams are relatively unknown names, much like the girls. There are other big names in this movie, but well, again, that would reveal a bit too much.
Whedon and Goddard made this movie in an effort to restore the horror genre, an effort that I believe Goddard was attempting to do with his 2008 movie Cloverfield. The two described Cabin as “a loving hate letter” to the horror genre. If you’ve seen any horror movie in the past decade, you’ll understand why.
So these five friends get an RV and head off to a cabin that none of them have been to and that’s completely off the grid. A typical, cliché and expected horror movie set up. You think you already know what’s going to happen. The Cabin in the Woods knows you’re thinking that and plays off of it with fantastic results. It’s everything you expected and so much more.
Have you realized yet that you basically learned nothing out of this review other than some random production notes and a very general plot summary? I didn’t tell you if it’s a great horror movie that deprived me of sleep, nor if it’s a campy tongue-in-cheek movie. Nor will I. But I will tell you that Whedon and Goddard did not disappoint, playing directly off of the audience’s expectation, with some nice twists, and it is a great movie that I won’t be shutting up about. Also, don’t watch the trailer for this movie. Just know this: five people go into a cabin in the woods. Bad stuff happens.