For many years I have been watching horror/thriller movies, and every year I get a predictable mess. Either the camera work reveals every scene that is meant to scare you, or you just get a blood bath that is filled with cheesy kills. Thus I made a wish that a horror movie would finally be different that would keep me guessing at each step of the way. I got my wish, and well it was perhaps the most interesting/strangest horror movie I have ever seen. So let’s get started.
The trailer for Cabin in the Woods leads you to believe that it’s just another tale of five college age kids heading into the woods for a fun vacation only to somehow become the target of unknown murderer or creature. However, five minutes into the movie we quickly learn that is not the case as there is something much deeper and in fact stranger than I could even imagine. One of the things I can tell you is that the confusing opening at the movie will have you wondering what in the world you got yourself into, as my friends and I just looked at each other in confusion. Soon though you learn just what these characters are involved in and how it will affect our future campers.
I can’t really say much more without ruining the movie so I’m going to move on to the positives of this movie. Perhaps the biggest thumbs up is how unpredictable this horror, more thriller, has in store. Throughout the movie there are numerous twists and surprises that keep you wondering what the directors have in store. Despite my ability to predict movies, I was unable to predict the story, the turnout, and even the underlying motifs until they were revealed. Now this gets a big plus in my book, but there is a downside to these surprises I’ll reveal later. The second thing I really enjoyed about this movie is the character Marty (Fran Kranz) the stoned philosopher of the group. Although I’m not the biggest fan of drug humor, this time it worked as they developed Marty to have a nice diverse and well-delivered comedic style. At various points in the movie, my friends and I laughed as his witty humor, funny delivery, and well-timed reactions had us rolling on the floor. For a stoner character, he had quite a few surprises and is sure to be a fan favorite. Perhaps the third thing I can comment on is the creativity of this movie. At first the directors really just make this movie very random, but as the movie progresses one realizes just how much variety the directors had planned in this movie and how each choice could have lead to something entirely different. My friends and I also found a few movie references in the film, and this movie pays homage to the various horrors you have seen in the past. Sure there are a few other positives I could mention such as some justice being served in the movie, as well as both males and females in this cast will make the audience hoot and holler. However, their performances are only okay as many of them are just screaming, running, or acting drunk, the exception being Kristen Connolly who seems one of the few characters they actually work on developing.
Despite this movie being unpredictable, the direction they chose to take the movie was interesting. Did I like this twist? I can only say kind of as it was definitely different, but weird at the same time and random. Perhaps I would have enjoyed it more if I had some explanations for some of the questions this movie leaves unanswered. The randomness does make it unpredictable, but at the same time left me a little confused or wondering how these scientis developed this situation. Also there are some inconsistencies in the movie that my friends and I picked out, and if you catch it you may be asking how this challenge could have succeeded in the first place. One of my friends also pointed out that this movie isn’t really so much a horror as it is a thriller, which means, you guessed it, a blood bath. Various scenes throughout the movie are painted in a red mess, which for me isn’t what I go to see a horror for. I can say though that the kills in this movie, with maybe the exception of one or two, are not cheesy or over exaggerated, as we have seen countless times in the past, aka the Final Destination series.
All right so what’s my overall thoughts on this movie. To sum it up The Cabin in The Woods is perhaps one of the most unique horror/thriller movies I’ve seen in a long time. The countless surprises, creative twist on a tired plot, and Frank Kanz’s comedic relief keep the audience entertained for the hour and a half. However, the twist and theme may not be for everyone, and the unanswered questions may leave you feeling a little disappointed or confused about what you just saw. Fans looking for a bloodbath filled with the F word will definitely enjoy this movie. Would I recommend it for the theater? I think if you go with a group of friends, this teenage slasher is definitely up for a theater visit, but is definitely worth a Netflix rent. I again applaud the staff for not making this movie a generic horror/thriller, but next time want them to tie up the loose ends a bit better. My scores for this movie are the following:
Horror/Comedy/Thriller 8.0-8.5 (more thriller and comedy than anything)
Movie overall: 6.0-6.5