Originally slated to be released in February 2010, Cabin In The Woods release was initially delayed until January 0f 2011 so that it could be converted to 3D. But due to financial difficulties at MGM, its distributor, the film was shelved yet again until April 2012. Fortunately, that release date stuck, and an instant horror classic has been unleashed.
The less you know about it, the better. All I knew was that five friends spend some time in said cabin and, from the trailer, assumed it’d be a case of ‘there’s something else in the cabin’ etc, etc; you know the drill. But I can assure you, it’s far from straight forward. Let’s face it though: if it was just the story of five friends who are mutilated one by one by a nightmarish terror, we’d still watch it; the seemingly blunt title is enough for us to know what we are in for. And in some respects, yes, the title gives you all you need to know. There is a cabin, and it is situated in woods. But right from the opening scenes, there’s a strong sense of getting more than you bargained for.
Director Drew Goddard (writer of Cloverfield) and writer Joss Whedon have taken every horror movie cliche and turned them on their head. It’s so self aware about how conventional it is, that it’s almost satirical. Everything from the scenarios to the character moulds are purposely unoriginal and, in turn, it becomes original; simply put, it’s this generations Scream. Chris Hemsworth (Thor) is perfectly stock as the athletic jock, relative newcomer Anna Hutchison has the goods to be the believable hot blonde and Jesse Williams (Brooklyn’s Finest) nails it as the bookworm/nerd stereotype. But it’s Fran Kranz and Kristen Connolly as the stoner and the virgin, respectively, who really shine.
Whilst Cabin In The Woods is by far the most original horror I’ve seen for quite some time, it lovingly pays homage to the films that made it possible, with the most obvious being Sam Raimi’s classic zombie flick The Evil Dead, and even a little bit of Hellraiser for good measure. It’s also pretty darn funny too; both the dialogue and the sheer ridiculousness of particular scenes create intentional humour and the comedy is hit more than miss. My only gripe is the climax of the third act is just a little too silly for my liking, thus feeling more forced than the film that preceded it.
I’ve kept this as spoiler free as possible, because Cabin In The Woods has to be seen to be fully appreciated. The majority of people I know who have also seen it agree with me, but there’s a select few who are just baffled by the whole concept and how it plays out. I for one thoroughly enjoyed unraveling the secrets of the cabin, and have every intention to make a return visit in the near future.