Film Review:THE CABIN IN THE WOODS

Directors: Joss Whedon, Drew Goddard
Starring: Kristen Connolly, Chris Hemsworth, Anna Hutchison, Richard Jenkins, Bradley Whitford, Fran Kranz
Writers: Drew Goddard, Joss Whedon

This is quite possibly the most difficult review to write, ever. Not because Cabin is bad. Exact opposite, actually. It’s brilliant. No, it’s the difficulty of having to write a review of a movie that is one surprise and incredible twist after the other without giving any away. So the best way to put it, “Cabin in the Woods” is, literally, the horror movie to end all horror movies.

Joss Whedon, or god, as he’s best known, has made a career out of turning genre’s on their heads. He created Buffy, the Vampire Slayer, Angel, Firefly, Dr. Horrible and written acclaimed runs of Astonishing X-Men and Runaways. This is his long awaited opus to horror movies. Of course, in true Joss fashion, it’s more than just any horror flick. He writes of a group of college students (including a pre-”Thor” Chris Hemsworth) vacationing to a, of course, cabin in the woods. (Hey! That’s the title of the movie!) At the same time, we see they are being trailed and watched by a group of scientists in an unknown facility. These puppet masters have to make sure everything goes off without a hitch. But what is going off? Anything else anyone tells you beyond this description is a criminal spoiler. The people saying such things should be strung up and have their lips soldered shut. The movie is a huge ride that will change how people think about horror movies. It turns the entire genre, and then some, on its bloody and disgusting head.

The pair of director Drew Goddard and writer Whedon work beautifully together. Aside from being pure geniuses in what they do, they care about how they do it. The little hints and notes throughout Cabin and layer upon layer to this complex and masterful piece of art. The look and feel for each scene are pitch perfect. Especially when certain things are made fun of. When we watch a movie and the group splits up, the worst idea ever, how can it be justified? Why is there always a creepy old man giving threatening advice? So many clichés are explored and extrapolated in the process of revealing the mysteries of Cabin. Everything we knew about horror movies are gone. This is the one that raises the bar of all scary movies. It’ll be nearly impossible to not compare what Cabin does with any new slasher coming out. Hopefully, every writer, director and studio will see this and have to find a new way to thrill us. And we, the audience, will see this and reach a new level of horror movie sophistication.

-Jo Schmidt