In a world of remakes, sequels, and prequels, it’s refreshing to see an original film breathe some new life into the horror genre. Some have argued that this film is “ripping off” old classics. I think they’ve simply missed the point. Cabin pays homage to classics like Friday the 13th, The Evil Dead, Cabin Fever, I Spit On Your Grave, Scream, Halloween, and many others, both by referencing them, and lightly poking fun at the “rules” of horror films. The tagline “You think you know the story” is a very fitting explanation of this gruesome twist on vintage accounts. Joss Whedon and Drew Goddard’s love for the genre shine through the screen to and into our hearts in this re-imagining and reconstruction of the old tale of The Cabin in the Woods.
The story starts out like any other horror movie: five young, attractive friends go to a cabin for the weekend to party. Along the way, they meet the usual town nutcase, who aids them in finding their cabin and eerily adds that returning from the place is “their problem”. Although he comes off a little creepy, the kids fail to heed the warning of the local citizen, so they must pay. As they travel onward to the cabin, it becomes more and more clear that something is awry, but naturally, the group is too excited about their trip to notice. When they arrive at their destination, the cabin, which is strikingly similar to the one in The Evil Dead, is everything they’d hoped for. Maybe even a little more. Odd occurrences like the two-way mirror in the bedroom start to rattle the audience into excitement and fear. What is going on with this cabin? And who are these people in lab coats they the movie frequently shifts back to? I really don’t want to ruin anything for those planning on seeing this film, so I won’t say too much, but the “secret” about the cabin is definitely worth finding out.
This movie has everything a horror fan would want and more. It’s scary, bloody, sexy, and for the first time in a long time, at least in mainstream theaters, you don’t know what’s going to happen in the end! It even manages to be funny, despite all of the gore and mayhem. It’s highly reminiscent of Wes Craven’s Scream, laying out the rules, breaking them, and making us laugh all the while.
Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Angel fans will love this movie simply because there’s a Whedonverse feel to it. Whedon’s style of direction is prominent throughout the film, with just enough Goddard to shake things up. There’s also some cast members from the shows in the movie, like Amy Acker (Angel) and Tom Lenk (Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Angel), who played Fred and Andrew, two of my favorite Whedon characters.
Joss Whedon and Drew Goddard get back to what made scary movies so great in the first place with this film. Although it does allude to older slashers that shaped the genre in the first place, it reeks of authenticity. Besides all of the brilliant innovations it contains, it’s just a fun ride to go on with the cast. I guarantee you will enjoy watching this movie with a big bucket of popcorn. I know I did.
If all of these reasons haven’t already convinced you to head to the nearest theater, then the fact that it’s Friday the 13th should. That’s right fellow horror fans, it’s the day of evil happenings, so go to the cabin and do bad things.