The Cabin in the Woods (2012)

cabin in the woods poster 2011 movie
8.0 Overall Score
Story: 8/10
Acting: 8/10
Visuals: 7/10

Clever story idea, decent actors

Genre blends leads to not a good horror, not a great sci-fi, not a great mystery

Movie Info

Movie Name:  The Cabin in the Woods

Studio:  Mutant Energy Productions

Genre(s):  Horror/Sci-Fi/Fantasy/Mystery/Suspense

Release Date(s):  March 9, 2012 (South by Southwest)/April 13, 2012 (U.S.)

MPAA Rating:  R

cabin in the woods richard jenkins

Betting is closed!

An experiment is underway. A group of college kids are headed off to a remote cabin in the woods. They encounter a crusty backwoods man who warns of the danger…which they ignore. When they arrive they uncover a tale of a family out to destroy each other which accidentally unleashes zombies. Little do the teens know that this set-up is part of a bigger conspiracy, and the reality they are experiencing is being run by two men (Richard Jenkins and Bradley Whitford)…what is the mystery of the cabin in the woods?

Directed by Drew Goddard, The Cabin in the Woods is a genre bending horror/sci-fi film. It was long delayed, and after fans demanded it, it was finally released in 2012. It was met with mostly positive to mixed reviews mostly citing Joss Whedon’s different style of plot.

I would say there are spoilers throughout this review, but it doesn’t seem that much was really a secret or needed to be kept secret  I have to say, I don’t know how to describe The Cabin in the Woods. A friend at work asked me if it was a horror movie, and I almost have to say no. I didn’t find one aspect of the film scary. There weren’t any real big jumps, and most of the horror parts of the film were handled with humor. Yes, there were monsters. Yes, you need to be a horror fan to enjoy it, but I also feel that it isn’t a horror movie but a science-fiction movie.

cabin in the woods jules wolf head anna hutchinson

More disturbing than anything in movie…

I don’t know that I loved The Cabin in the Woods. I thought that it should have been a horror movie and could have been horror science fiction (maybe if Cronenberg had done it, it would have been better). Honestly, the movie doesn’t make much sense and the characters even point that out near the end. It seems if the world is at stake, they don’t have to go through all the hassle of the set-up. The big reveal that the sacrifices keep down the gods of old is like “ok…so what.”  I didn’t say, “Wow! That explains it all!”

You have a relatively strong, young cast as the people up for sacrifice, and Richard Jenkins and Bradley Whitford lead the men behind the experiment.  It almost feels like the film and the characters should be expanded and that Joss Whedon was thinking in terms of a TV series instead of a two-hour movie…it could have been a longer, developed story for something like HBO.

cabin in the woods monsters released

I would have been more interested in a movie focused around any of these characters instead of zombies…

I can’t really judge if I hated or liked the movie because I did find some aspects of the story clever and some of the acting decent. The script’s decision to go for zombies was a poor choice since zombies are so popular now and I’m still not even sure where the companies get all the demons, werewolves, vampires, ghosts, etc. There are many references to other films like Hellraiser, Friday the 13th, The Evil Dead, and other “classic” horror that I do like.

The Cabin in the Woods is definitely worth seeing for something different. Is it a horror movie? I’d say no. Will horror fans like it? Probably. I wish the script had been a bit more mysterious or darker to make it more science-fiction or horror or just a thriller, but instead I found it a mush that doesn’t quite achieve on any level of genre. It isn’t a mess by any means, but I always feel it could be a lot more.

Author: JPRoscoe View all posts by
Follow me on Twitter/Instagram/Letterboxd @JPRoscoe76! Loves all things pop-culture especially if it has a bit of a counter-culture twist. Plays video games (basically from the start when a neighbor brought home an Atari 2600), comic loving (for almost 30 years), and a true critic of movies. Enjoys the art house but also isn't afraid to let in one or two popular movies at the same time.

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