Joss Whedon and Drew Goddard co-wrote the film The Cabin in the Woods back in 2009. The film was then shot and directed by Goddard and was completed in May of 2009. Sadly the film was shot under the MGM umbrella who later filed for bankruptcy putting the release of the film on a severe hold as the film fell into limbo. However, in 2012 the film finally came to release just over three years from its original completion date. Thankfully for Horror Fans the film is out in release and eventually will end up on DVD.
The film’s opening credit scenes may leave some wondering if they have entered the correct theatre as they start. You are shown images of ritualistic sacrifices through many different cultures. You will obviously find yourself asking what does this have to do with anything in regards to the film. To be honest this is a brilliant opening sequence as it’s the first hint of what is to come as the story moves forward.
The film starts with Richard Sitterson (Richard Jenkins) and Steve Hadley (Bradley Whitford) doing the normal thing of talking about life around a coffee machine. As they walk through their non-descript office building they are approached by Wendy Lin (Amy Acker) who is concerned about other operations around the world. Sitterson and Hadley point out that one of those countries remaining has a spotless record and there is no concern.
The viewer is than taken to a house were a group of five college aged kids are getting ready to take a vacation to a cabin now owned by Curt Vaughan’s (Chris Hemsworth) cousin. Curt is taking a long his girlfriend Jules Louden (Anna Hutchison), her friend Dana Polk (Kristen Connolly), a pot smoking friend Marty Mikalski (Fran Kranz) and lastly Holden McCrea (Jesse Williams). Holden is the guy Kurt and Jules asked along in hopes of hooking him up with the now relationship free Dana.
As the group takes their RV out to the cabin we flash back to the office that Sitterson and Hadley are working in and we begin to see that they are tracking the group. At this time we are not sure why but as you watch you begin to see something begin to unravel. We get an idea on how much trouble the group is going to be in as we watch a hawk follow their RV as it enters a tunnel. As they drive thru and emerge on the other side the hawk is seen flying and it suddenly bursts as it hits a field that stops it from following the RV any further.
This is the viewer’s first hint that something isn’t right about this cabin in the woods and we watch as those at the mysterious office watch what happens to the kids inside. There is a hidden motive to all of the struggles the kids go through and it will eventually become evident. The joy is watching how things are revealed on how things are set to take place.
Whedon and Goddard in away take a direct shot at the current trend in horror films. You can see how their story seems to glorify the things that make horror films great to one aspect of the audience. However, at the same time they seem to ridicule aspects of more modern horror that have become a great trend in the genre.
This is what makes The Cabin in the Woods such an interesting film. Along with the way the story is told and things unravel it helps to bring questions about what makes horror great, and at same time bad. This is all handled in the way the film moves and paces as the college students seem to avoid stereotypes that are associated with these films. There are hints at some of them and we watch as people pay for that fact. The really interesting thing is as you watch the film we find out a major secret about what, or who, could kill the kids. The fact they have an option of foolishly choosing the implement of their own death from horror film stereotypes is well done.
The Cabin in the Woods is a film that horror fans should try to see either on the big screen, or when available on DVD. It’s a film you will find both fascinating but at the same time quite intriguing. It turns those horror film stereotypes we’ve come to see on their head and makes you think. Of course, any Joss Whedon fan will want to see this just to show support for his works. I know this Brown Coat saw it for that reason as well and really enjoyed the film.