“Cabin in the Woods” not so easy to define…


When I originally heard that this movie was being made I thought that perhaps it was an EVIL DEAD rip-off, especially since said cabin looked very similar to the one from the 1981 film. To be honest, I actually had no interest in seeing this film until I saw the preview, stating that it was co-written by none other than Joss Whedon, of BUFFY THE VAMPIRE SLAYER and FIREFLY fame. After seeing that I knew this was a film that I wanted to see and eagerly awaited it’s April 13th release.

The thing is though, that when I did leave the theater after seeing it, I had no idea what to make of it! Unfortunately, the previews make this movie look like your average horror movie with sex-crazed teens going to the woods to do what they do best: drink, get stoned and have sex. Though these things do happen, this is actually a less important aspect of the story, one that many genre fans may not like or even get.

Though the trailers portray this film as a horror movie, it is actually a comedy, and a very clever one at that. The governments of the world have groups that actually prevent the destruction of the earth by sacrificing unsuspecting people to the ancients. They do this by setting up horror movie-themed scenarios that the victims are unwittingly put into and as each victim is killed, their blood is used to appease the gods. The people working in these groups actually bet each other to see how the story plays out. In this case there are five victims and depending on who does what in the basement of the cabin will determine their fate. In this case zombies are unleashed.

bradley-whitford-amy-ackers-and-richard-jenkins-in-the-cabin-in-the-woods-2011-movie-image-600x398The government workers, including Joss Whedon regular Amy Acker from ANGEL, prepare for their day. 

As the scenario unfolds, hidden microphones and cameras broadcast the mayhem back to the government facility where, through a ton of controls, they can manipulate the whole thing. As the story unfolds I was reminded of both television shows BUFFY THE VAMPIRE SLAYER and ANGEL. In season 4 of BUFFY, one of the ongoing stories for the season featured a government group called the Initiative, who would capture and experiment on various demons. In ANGEL, the law firm of Wolfram And Hart also worked with demons, harboring and protecting them. Both of these groups combined reminded me a lot of the government group in this film.

I will say this…after leaving the theater both me and the person that I went with were unsure of what to make of this film. In fact we didn’t even know if we liked it! We were both looking forward to a scary movie but instead we were treated to a movie that made us laugh throughout. After thinking about it, and remembering who wrote it, I will say that yes, I enjoyed it and I also recommend it. If the trailers gave you a better idea of what to expect, I think fewer people would be disappointed. It is a very clever movie and well written. My only fear is that in my initial confusion, I may have missed some important aspects of the film. All this means though is that I will have to see it again…and you should too!

~David Albaugh 

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