‘The Cabin in the Woods’ is a Clever Horror Deconstruction (31 Days of Horror Part 18)

Sommerleigh Pollonais – Horror Head Writer

DAY 18

Movie: The Cabin in the Woods (2011)

Plot: Five friends go for a break at a remote cabin, where they get more than they bargained for, discovering the truth behind the cabin in the woods.

Confession time. I really didn’t like this movie when I first saw it.

Editor J’s reaction

I thought it was another generic take on the slasher genre and a waste of effort. But the beauty of movie reviews and an open mind is you can check out what others are saying about a film and, with new insight into what’s what, go back and see it again in a different light. That was my experience with this satirical deconstruction of horror movies and I’m pleased to say the second time around was the charm.

I put the blame for my initial dislike of this film, squarely on the shoulders of the awful trailer, which portrayed writer Joss Whedon (Firefly, Buffy) and director Drew Gooddard’s hilarious homage to horror as just another genre flick when it was so much more. Deliberately cliched and wonderfully executed, what we see play out here is almost like a parody of horror movies, disguised AS a horror movie!

EDITOR J: Well this is an attractive group of young peop…RED QUEEN: THEY’RE ALL GOING TO DIE DOWN HERE! EDITOR J: Red Queen? Where’ve you been? We’ve missed you!

Without spoiling things for those who may have missed out on it, this film takes all of the cliched characters (including the evil ones) found in horror films and puts them all in the most cliched of horror movie locations, a cabin in the middle of nowhere.

I also loved what was done with these characters, and props goes to the young (and mostly unknown at that time) cast of actors for delivering on both their grounded and horror personas, by which I mean we have a nerd Holden (played by Jessie Williams), a cheerleader Jules (Anna Hutchison), a football player Curt (future Thor Chris Hemsworth), a stoner (Fran Kranz) and of course, a good girl, Dana (Kristen Connolly). All staples of the slasher horror genre, but what Whedon does different here is also show them as normal, intelligent, likeable individuals who don’t just fit into “the horror mould”. It’s decisions like this and many others that make The Cabin in the Woods stand out above the rest.

For the last time, I’m happy with my current internet package!

As more of the plot is revealed and we learn what’s actually taking place here (SPOILER ALERT it’s a horror movie INSIDE a horror movie), we can see Whedon and company make what seems like an insane decision, and that is to throw the rule book out the window. Yet somehow, it works! For example, the people you think would survive here won’t and vice-versa. I totally bought into the plot, as ridiculous as it was, because I was thoroughly entertained by everything that came before.

No one takes apart a film to analyse it like horror fans do. We can’t help but dig beneath the surface, looking for the deeper meaning behind the scares and screams. Whedon and Co. recognized that and in the end, The Cabin in the Woods isn’t just another horror film, but a test to see just how much you were paying attention.

Sommer’s Score: 7 out of 10

For part 17 of 31 Days of Horror and slow burn shocker Kill List you can click hereAnd for more than 100 horror movie reviews and lists you can check out the RMR horror section here.

2755F829-2EEC-4A68-B6F7-F963F48C9D92 Sommerleigh of the House Pollonais. First of Her Name. Sushi Lover, Queen of Horror Movies, Comic Books and Binge Watching Netflix. Mother of two beautiful black cats named Vader and Kylo. I think eating Popcorn at the movies should be mandatory, PS4 makes the best games ever and I’ll be talking about movies until the zombie apocalypse comes.

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