I’m not usually one for new horror films, but sometimes one comes along that changes that. Last year, when we saw The Cabin in the Woods, I was taken aback by how much I loved it. Directed by Drew Goddard and written by Goddard and Joss Whedon, this film is smart, funny, and a loving homage to the films I grew up watching.
I love everything about this film. I honestly do. It seems simple enough: five college students head to a remote cabin for a getaway and get more than they bargained for. But instead of dragging out tired horror tropes, this film turns them into catalysts not only for the characters’ adventures, but for something larger. We learn early on what controls the students’ fates. They’re playing out a well-orchestrated sacrifice run by a major corporation to prevent the end of the world. They’ve been carefully selected because they fit the classic horror movie character archetypes.
When I think about this film, so many things make me smile. Yes, it is a scary movie, and it made me jump a few times. But more than that, it’s just fun. It’s fun to see their story unfold like another Friday the 13th ripoff but turn into so much more. It’s fun to see the creative way the characters choose their doom. The dialogue is smart and witty. The scenes in which we see Goddard’s version of horror staples, as well as monsters of legend, are incredible. (There’s a particular scene with a unicorn that makes me chuckle every time I see it.)
It doesn’t hurt that Chris Hemsworth makes an appearance as the jock, but the rest of the cast is great as well. My favorites are the technicians, Hadley and Sitterson. Bradley Whitford and Richard Jenkins have beautiful chemistry and play well off each other. Amy Acker (continuing Whedon’s tradition to use people that have appeared in his other projects) makes an appearance as another company woman trying to prevent the end of the world. And the boss is a fun cameo.
The interesting part of this story is the notion that, if you place horror movies in this universe as true occurrences, all of them were perpetrated to keep the old gods satisfied. It certainly gives watching old horror movies a new twist. Goddard does a great job of covering not only classic monsters but also more modern horrors. When they enter the facility, there’s truly something for every horror fan.
I cannot recommend this movie enough. It’s streaming on Netflix, so the next time you want to cuddle up with a fun scary movie, give this one a try!