To review “The Cabin in the Woods” would be to ruin it, because half the fun of the movie is how surprised you get at each turn. But I saw it last night and fell absolutely in love with it, and as you all well know, when you love a movie you have to talk about it. (I mean, that’s why FilmFunds is here in the first place, isn’t it?) So without giving too much away, here are 5 reasons you must see “The Cabin in the Woods.” Consider it non-negotiable, even if you’re not a horror fan.
1. It has the Mutant Enemy tone throughout. Sarcastic, cute, smart, a little bit scary, and not skin-deep. Even though it’s more a Drew Goddard film than a Whedon one, there’s a reason Goddard got his start on Buffy. The only thing missing? A “Grr Arg.”
2. The phenomenal cast. Getting a Jesse Williams fill outside of Grey’s Anatomy? Yes please. And if there were a way to watch Richard Jenkins and Bradley Whitford act in every single movie ever, you know you’d do it. Plus, Chris Hemsworth departs from his Thor role to play a more realistic sort of a guy. And he pulls it off well.
3. One of the great things about Mutant Enemy projects is they recycle actors. So even though beloved shows are gone and beloved characters have no new stories, you can sort of catch up with them or vicariously live through favorites’ next performances. “Cabin” has appearances by Amy Acker who portrayed Fred on “Angel” and Dr. Saunders on “Dollhouse,” Fran Kranz who played Topher on “Dollhouse,” and the extraordinary Tom Lenk, who played nerd Andrew on “Buffy” and totally stole seasons 6 & 7.
4. There’s something for everyone. Even if you aren’t much for horror movies, you’ve got to admit there’s something about approaching the genre from a tongue in cheek perspective that’s pretty appealing. It’s like being in on a private joke, but anyone who’s ever seen a horror movie or told a ghost story or stayed overnight camping in the woods gets the punchline, so there’s also unity. And if you are much for horror movies, there’s a ton of great stuff in this one for you. Not gonna lie, some parts made me queasy. And sometimes that’s a great thing. (This is one of those times).
5. It’s not just a horror movie. You can take all the gore, all the monsters, and all the fear out of this movie, and its theme is strong enough that you’d still be compelled to keep watching, you’d still be entertained, and most importantly, you’d still walk out of the theater expounding on the meaning of life, and all that jazz. At its core, “Cabin in the Woods” is great literature; it’s provocative and keeps on giving even after the story ends. It’s kind of like “The Hunger Games” in that way. On its surface, that’s a story about a dystopian society where kids kill each other for what’s essentially a reality TV show and one girl stands out among them and sort of has a love triangle. But anyone who’s read the books or seen the movie knows it’s about a helluva lot more than that. So to, “Cabin” is bigger than it seems.
So go see it. I can’t believe I waited this long to go.
– Cindy Kaplan