The Cabin in the Woods
The Cabin in the Woods isn’t a horror movie. It’s every horror movie.
I went into this film cold, with no idea what to expect. This definitely enhanced the experience, as the preview I saw afterwards gave away too much. I went primarily on good word of mouth and that Joss Whedon (Buffy the Vampire Slayer, The Avengers) co-wrote the script with Drew Goddard (Cloverfield). Whedon’s razor sharp dialogue and sense of humour is very much in evidence here. This film sets up with two seemingly unconnected plotlines, and you keep wondering what the heck is going on here. As the relationship between the two becomes clearer, the link between the two is completely unexpected and promising.
And then it all goes completely, gloriously, fabulously wacko. The third act of this movie is nuts - in a good way.
The film expertly blends horror and humour; I was reminded of the original An American Werewolf in London. I was having an incredibly good time… until I got to the ending.
It’s a common horror movie ending: stupid. To use a sports metaphor, the filmmakers had the game in the bag, had the ball on the one yard line… and dropped it. The last few minutes almost spoiled the experience for me.
This film is hard to rate. So much of this movie is so good, I have to recommend it. But they could have had an incredibly cool ending and ramped this film into the stratosphere. It would have been ★★★½ or even ★★★★ if not for that ending.
Additional: While the end of the movie was still a sour emotional note for me, I appreciate it more intellectually for having read Paul Cornell’s analysis of it.