Finally a horror movie that’s not found-footage and not a remake! The ad campaign for this movie billed it as just another movie where a group of teenagers spend the weekend in a “cabin in the woods,” while something terrible lurks in the darkness. I think they sold it short, personally but it was a shrewd move.
Of course, it didn’t create the kind box office dynamite it could have, but they maintained
the integrity of the secrets that really make this movie unique. The amount of restraint they displayed in not showing you every special effect in the trailers is saintly. It was quite a gamble and I hope it pays off for them.
I’m going to try to show the same restraint with this article. It’s strange to think that people, like me, won’t ever see this in the theater, but instead will be turned onto it by their movie buff friend.
Writer Joss Whedon made a name for himself with the popular TV version of Buffy the Vampire Slayer and writing for Roseanne here and there. His spinoff of Buffy, Angel would launch the career of Bones star David Boreanaz.
With his Firefly series and the movie Serenity, he solidified himself as someone who could write sci-fi that catered to real sci-fi fans in an age when thinly masked soap operas were masquerading as sci-fi. Still, he didn’t lose his ability to write the perfect 80’s action movie catch phrase.
Thanks to his sci-fi success and the probable king’s ransom he’s gotten for writing and directing The Avengers and it’s upcoming sequel, Whedon didn’t have to take time out of his day to do another horror movie. However, he and Cloverfield writer Drew Goddard, made the quintessential horror movie for horror movie fans in an age when horror writers keep regurgitating old formulas and franchises in the hopes of striking gold.
The first 15 minutes seem painfully familiar but in addition to the main plot of a jock, a slut, a stoner, and a virgin drinking and hooking up, there’s another plot featuring Richard Jenkins and Bradley Whitford.
Their depiction of two middle-aged corporate wage slaves trying to make a boring job fun is spot on and hilarious.
The way Whedon brings those plots together at the end is nothing short of
epic. This movie doesn’t necessarily make fun of how remarkably similar horror movies can be but instead embraces it and pulls all our nightmares into a single cohesive plot.
So, if you like being the in-the-know movie guy who’s able to spot diamonds in the rough, sit your friends down and watch Cabin in the Woods before it becomes to the horror genre what Reservoir Dogs is to heist movies, what The Princess Bride is to fantasy movies or what The Big Lebowski is to bowling movies.