During the last couple of decades horror movies have devolved into movies that are more about gore, sexualized violence and cheap scares rather than about genuine fear. The new meta-horror movie “Cabin in the Woods” criticizes this change and puts the blame of this ultimately on the viewers themselves.
The movie is the work of two minds that are very well versed in the horror genre. Joss Whedon, creator of the cult television shows “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” and “Firefly,” wrote the script along with “Cloverfield” screenwriter Drew Goddard. While the movie is fun for all genre film fans, “Cabin in the Woods” is a horror movie that will be most appreciated by true horror movie aficionados.
The premise of the film is that a group of stereotypically dumb college students go into the woods to spend a weekend in a cabin. It’s a story that is practically a horror movie cliché by now, but early in the film there are hints that this is not your standard cabin-in-the-woods story. We see scenes in some sort of laboratory who seem to be undergoing some experiment or project that involves them watching and maybe even controlling these teens going into the woods. I would not want to spoil the movie for you, so I’ll just say that the scope of the film is much larger than a group of teenagers in the woods.
It is not easy talking about this film without divulging much of the plot, so moviegoers will have to take my word that this is one movie very much worth looking out for. The way the film critiques the amount of formulaic horror films that all seem to be made in the same industrial factory rather than being the work of an artist, is surprisingly sophisticated and brave.
But not only is “Cabin in the Woods” smart and critical, it is also incredibly fun. The criticism of standard horror movie clichés provide some great laughs, and there are some exciting moments that will put monster movie fans and horror fans in a state of pure bliss. Those fans will also have a good time looking for the numerous references to cult horror classics, like “The Evil Dead” and “Hellraiser.”
What “Cabin in the Woods” lacks though is the qualities of the horror movies it references. The film is not all that scary or creepy. But I will say that asking it to be a great horror film while also criticizing modern horror, might be asking too much, because if it accomplished both of those things it would have been a horror masterpiece. In any case I really cannot complain about a film that so bravely and effectively combats the dumbed down blood lust that has taken hold of the dismal state of modern day horror filmmaking.