Best Movies of All Time + [thriller]

THE CABIN IN THE WOODS

THE CABIN IN THE WOODS

"An army of nightmares, huh? Let's get this party started."

-- Dana
The Cabin in the Woods is a 2012 horror-thriller directed by Drew Goddard and written by Goddard and Joss Whedon. The film tells the story of five college co-eds on their way for a weekend trip to a rustic cabin in the middle of the wilderness. The five friends - innocent Dana (Kristen Connolly), jock Curt (Chris Hemsworth), girlfriend Jules (Anna Hutchison), intellectual Holden (Jesse Williams) and stoner Marty (Fran Kranz) - immediately start to notice that there's something very nefarious about the cabin. They make their way into the cellar, where Dana finds the diary of a young girl who used to live in the cabin. After reading some of the text, the zombified corpses of the family rise from the grave and start to haunt and attack the group of friends. At the same time, however, the audience learns that there is a group of people manipulating the situation from a secret station. In order to appease the powers that be, the team, led by men named Sitterson (Richard Jenkins) and Hadley (Bradley Whitford), must ensure that the group of friends is killed.

For those of you who have been reading my posts for the better part of this year, you may already know that I had listed The Cabin in the Woods as my seventh-most anticipated film of 2012. After initially seeing the trailer, I could hardly contain my excitement for the film, which looked to be one of the more original horror-thrillers to grace the silver screen in a while. Having finally had the opportunity to give the film a view, I have to say that I am thoroughly impressed with the final product.

Going into the film, I had forgotten that Joss Whedon had helped pen the screenplay, but after re-discovering this little tidbit only moments before showtime, I have to say that my excitement level grew exponentially. From the outset, the film just feels like a Whedon project, and that was enough to help draw me into the storyline. In the beginning, it's a little confusing because we're getting both the story of the college co-eds as well as the technicians running this very sadistic "game," but as the story progresses, the audience gets to see how it all intersects with one another. The story itself is inventive and adds a bit of a sci-fi twist to your typical horror story. The Cabin in the Woods could have easily fallen into genre convention, but instead, it managed to turn genre convention on its ear. At the same time, Whedon and Goddard found ample situations in which to throw a number of references to past horror flicks. The most obvious is probably the references to The Evil Dead, but there's just so many to see that it's hard to keep track of them all. And on top of all this, Whedon and Goddard have managed to create a story that's original, and that's a rarity in the horror genre of today. The film manages to be scary, funny and contemplative all at the same time, and it all blends so well that the movie proves to be incredibly engaging and entertaining.

Another strong facet of the screenplay is the characters, who prove to be well-written and well-developed. Fortunately, the cast is able to step up to the challenge and offer strong performances that bring the characters to life. Connolly does well as the film's lead, but it's some of the supporting characters that bring out the best of the acting. Fran Kranz works well as the movie's best comic relief, and some of his one-liners are so bitingly hilarious that I'm still thinking about the quotes today. I also have to give a shout-out to Jenkins and Whitford, who bring quite a bit of comedy as well. Overall, the cast just manages to fire on all cylinders and bring together quite the collective performance. Also be on the lookout for a very spectacular cameo toward the end of the film. I don't want to give it away, but it's a pretty big-time name.

Thus far, The Cabin in the Woods has managed to score some fantastic reviews from the critical community, but the review from Christopher Orr, who writes for The Atlantic, stated it best in his positive review for the film:

A horror movie embedded in a conspiracy flick embedded in another horror movie - the most inventive cabin-in-the-woods picture The Evil Dead and the canniest genre deconstruction since Scream.
I honestly don't think I could've stated it any better, and Whedon and Goddard deserve most of the credit for this film's success. If you're a horror fan, then this one's probably a must-see, if only because you're going to love the send-up of past horror flicks and the deconstruction of typical conventions. However, I think this film could even appeal to film fans not entirely familiar with horror flick history. There's just so much to love about The Cabin in the Woods. I just hope I have the chance to get back and see it again sometime soon.

Movie Review SummaryGrade: AShould You See It? Yes