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The Cabin In The Woods—movie review

by Leonard Maltin
April 13, 2012 1:05 AM
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Says Whedon, “There’s some part of us, some deep, dark, primitive part of us that wants to sacrifice these people onscreen. I wanted to make a movie that explained why. And so it’s been a strange experience because on the one hand, we do straight up horror. We definitely love the genre and the tropes of the genre but at the same time we have a lot of questions about why and where it’s going.”

The Cabin in the Woods-325
Photo by Diyah Pera - Courtesy Lionsgate

Goddard adds, “The horror movie is merely the jumping-off point for the inherent questions about humanity that the genre suggests. Why, as a people, do we feel the need to marginalize, objectify, and destroy youth? And this is not specific to the genre, or movies in general, or our present-day culture. We’ve been doing this to youth since we first began as a people and this question—the question of why—is very much at the heart of Cabin.”

This is meaty stuff, meatier than most horror films would even attempt to confront, yet I don’t think Cabin in the Woods achieves its stated goal. The ritualistic aspect of the film is fun but overly familiar, the filmmakers’ attitude is a little too snarky, and the climax is so off-the-wall that it seemingly contradicts the thoughtful questions raised by its creators. Only the last few moments hint at the true darkness of their concept.

Is The Cabin in the Woods the greatest thing to happen to the horror genre, as some enthusiasts have claimed? I don’t think so. It’s a clever attempt to emulate, parody, and subvert the genre all at once—but it’s only partially successful.

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  • Rick | June 28, 2012 10:09 PMReply

    *** SPOILERS ***

    The real horror of the story was that the people pulling the strings were intentionally inflicting this suffering on other human beings. Most even joked about it and placed bets (which is why I liked the serious security guard so much). I think they overdid that aspect, because most people would have been more reluctant and respectful of the fact that they were committing these horrors to spare the entire world a similar fate.

    I mostly found the movie to be a fun ride, and so I recommended it to others as such.

  • Kyler Varnell | April 21, 2012 12:53 PMReply

    Leonard, I have been a big fan of yours for a few years. I love your books and you are the reason my love of movies had really started. Without you I wouldn't have seen a lot of the best movies out there. Like my fav Evil Dead, but that's beside the point. I really thought The Cabin in the Woods was one of the better horror movies of my generation. It was smart, fast paced, and never failed to surprise me. Yes, it wasn't that scary but I still think it deserves to be a staple on every movie buff's top ten horror list. I don't know though, you are the master. Lol. That is all.

  • Kevin | April 13, 2012 11:41 AMReply

    I sat next to you at the screening for this and wondered what you thought. I couldn't agree with you more. I have to say I was pretty disappointed. Here's my review...

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