body horror

[Movie Review] The Cabin in the Woods (2011) ★★★★★

Dana and Marty scared and bloody in The Cabin in the Woods 2011

The Cabin in the Woods summons a brilliant mash of monster mayhem gore galore.

The Cabin in the Woods is a supernatural comedy slasher that parodies the genre but with wit and guts and a lot of gore, while it’s as much of an ode to the genre too. With the archetypes turned upside down, all slasher tropes used to the fullest and a whole bunch of different monsters and creatures waiting to slay them, this film is the ultimate supernatural slasher but with a brilliant twist. It’s great fun, it’s bloody, it’s original and it looks fantastic, with loads of practical and special effects. In short, this is a must-see and an instant classic.

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College friends Dana, Holden, Marty, Jules and Curt take a weekend off to spend it in a cabin in the woods by a lake. In the cellar of the cabin they find a lot of old stuff and weird items, and when Dana starts to read out loud from a journal of a little girl, a hell breaks loose. In the meantime they are being watched by a group of scientists and slowly the friends realize they are caught in a strange ritual, that summons the ultimate slasher movie.

Why you should watch it

The Cabin in the Woods is a perfect and brilliant parody to the slasher genre where every trope is being satirized in a very original and fun way. But at the same time it’s an ode and homage to the genre where every trope is used in full. From the archetypes of the characters/victims, their behavior and decisions, the setting, everything that is normally used to make a slasher thrilling and scary is now being turned into something hilarious. But the best part is, that it still manages to also be a good scary movie. The kills are brutal and gory. The monsters original and amazingly made. The characters are all very likable and you cheer them on, making it scary and horrible when they get the worst of it. 

But that’s just one part of the story. Like the setting, the story itself is much bigger and the stakes are much higher. The original twist delivers great fun and more slasher gore than you could have imagined. It’s a slasher gone wild and out of control in the best way possible. With a conventional slasher structure, normal people, an excellent storyline that brings a delightful twist and the slasher mayhem that is totally bonkers, this is a fresh movie that revives the slasher genre with a different spin. 

With a whole bunch of monsters and creatures to cause mayhem and havoc, they fill the screen with gory bits and colors it red with blood. The practical effects and special effects are awesome and through the chaos you sometimes don’t know where to look to spot the fantastically made creatures. They are all very imaginative, some are old school, some are totally new beings, but it feels like you want to see a feature film of each one of them, where they each deserve to have a lot of screen time. 

While the characters are archetypes, like the jock, the fool, the virgin, the student, and the whore, we get to see a lot of archetypes in monsters and more. These are them: Werewolf. Alien Beast. Mutants. Wraiths. Zombies. Reptilius. Clowns. Witches. Sexy Witches. Demons. Hell Lord. Angry Molesting Tree. Giant Snake. Deadites. Kevin. Mummy. The Bride. The Scarecrow Folk. Snowman. Dragonbatt. Vampires. Dismemberment Goblins. Sugar Plum Fairy. Merman. The Reanimated. Unicorn. The Huron. Sasquatch/Wendigo/Yeti. Dolls. The Doctors. Zombie Redneck Torture Family. Jack O’Lantarn. Giant. Twins. 

Who doesn’t get curious what an Angry Molesting Tree would look like and do. Or what about some dry humor with a monster named Kevin. 

But it doesn’t stop there with the tropes, every item you manage to spot in the basement feels very familiar and feels like it indeed belongs in a horror movie. The creepy wedding dress, the perfume bottle, the creepy dolls, old mirrors, and even a Zoltar animatronic, do make you feel like you are a kid in a candy store. They really give it everything they got, or is to imagine within the horror genre. 

Finally all the behavioral tropes, like having sex means instant death, don’t split up, don’t do drugs for it kills you, don’t wander off, don’t go into the woods, never say ‘I’ll be right back’ and a lot more are passing by, but in a totally different way. Cool part is that neither character is stupid, but the lab isn’t afraid to help them out, behaving as they should when in a good old slasher movie. A lab with the most harsh and clinical people, is what makes it even more fun. It’s just brilliant hilarious. 

This absolute instant classic is definitely a must-see for every horror fan and especially the slasher fans. It’s anything but just another teen slasher. And fans of Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Angel are going to detect some very fun nods to these series. It has the same humor and visual style, the same feel for excellent timing and great witty dialogue. Another familiar element are The Ancient Ones and the lab that feels very similar to Wolfram & Hart. And of course some familiar actors also make an appearance, like Amy Acker and Tom Lenk. So this is a trip down memory lane in multiple ways and for different kind of fans. It’s not so surprising for it’s almost the same team behind these amazing fantasy horror comedy stories. 

My favorite part

When they finally find out what it’s all about, then the real fun is really about to start. The cubes are brilliantly amazing and what they hold inside is even more imaginative. This turn of events takes the slasher part to the next level. Then all hell breaks loose, and it’s just eye candy for creature lovers. Each one of them is designed with great care and passion for the genre. Each one of them should have their own film. It’s messy, bloody, full of chaos and all brought to you with glee and great fun and delight. Also the cameras watching and connecting with different parts of the world, make sure the horror is very inclusive and no-one can escape wherever you are. And then wait for the final twist. This film is full of surprises. 


Rating: ★★★★★

Fun factor: ★★★★★

Scare factor: ★★★☆☆

Gore factor: ★★★★★

Gruesome factor: ★★★★★

Originality factor: ★★★★★

Entertainment factor: ★★★★★

Cast and crew

The Cabin in the Woods is directed and written by Drew Goddard and cowritten by Joss Whedon. It stars Kristen Connolly (Dana), Chris Hemsworth (Curt), Anna Hutchison (Jules), Fran Kranz (Marty), Jesse Williams (Holden), Richard Jenkins (Sitterson), Bradley Whitford (Hadley), Amy Acker (Lin), Tom Lenk (Ronald The Intern) and Sigourney Weaver (The Director).

Duration: 95 minutes. Music by: David Julyan. Cinematography: Peter Deming. Edited by: Lisa Lassek. Produced by: Joss Whedon. Production company: Mutant Enemy Productions. Distributed by: Lionsgate.

Check the trailer below

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