The Cabin in the Woods

Once in a while, a movie comes along that changes the fabric of a genre completely. The Cabin in the Woods is that movie for the horror genre.

Once in a while, a movie comes along that changes the fabric of a genre completely. The Cabin in the Woods is that movie for the horror genre. After watching it, the experience of horror movies will just not be the same, no matter what country the movie is from or what language it is in. The Cabin in the Woods achieves something singularly iconic that is perhaps applicable only within the horror genre. However, to fully appreciate the movie, it is essential to be familiar with the genre and yet view it without being prior aware of how it accomplishes what it does.

Briefly, The Cabin in the Woods follows a group of five friends who arrive at an isolated cabin to spend the weekend. Their intent is to stay away from technology and contact, surrounded by wilderness and enjoy the weekend away. As may be guessed, things don’t necessarily go as planned. Soon, the boys and girls are struggling to survive the horror that unleashes upon them.

As generic as the plot may sound, the genius of the film’s makers is to take the familiar and do something extraordinary with it. Exploring some of the well-known clichés of the genre, but not being obnoxiously self-aware of them in-movie (like the Scream sequels), the writers pay homage to the best while setting the bar extremely high for film-makers who aspire to make genuinely good horror movies. Expertly crafted and lovingly presented, the passion of writer Joss Whedon and writer-director Drew Goddard is evident right from the onset. The witty dialog exchanges and setup of familiar scenarios mixed with the unexpected sets the tone of the movie early on. Even so, little hint is given of the grand finale when, quite fervently, all hell breaks loose.

Even with all the fun and love The Cabin in the Woods has with the genre, Whedon and Goddard’s movie is neither brainless, nor shallow. The critical statements it makes about the exploitative nature of the genre as well as the audience of the genre’s movies are a part of the combination punch that the movie provides. Combined with the clever writing, the movie has an excellent repeat value, especially for those looking to revel in the details the movie is crammed with. This also means that the movie is mainly targeted to the ardent horror-fan, who recognizes the homages and clichés. Therefore some may find the movie quite bizarre.

The Cabin in the Woods provides for passionate discussions as an after-movie experience, as well as enough reference material to become the topic of discussion after watching other horror movies, past or future. The movie is likely to become a part of pop-culture, and with its iconic-yet-generic name, it is not a movie that will be forgotten anytime soon.

Rating: ★★★★½


About Shariq Madani

Shariq is a social, talkative, fun-loving guy who enjoys books, food and a long drive. But his real joy is in the comfortable darkness of a cinema, watching a good movie, and later spending hours discussing it.