According to Joss Whedon and Drew Goddard, the masterminds behind The Cabin In The Woods, the duo didn’t set out to subvert or reinvent the horror genre. They simply wanted to make a great film. Which they did. In doing so, they also managed to subvert and reinvent. But most importantly, they also succeed in scaring the crap out of us.
Find out why (with spoilers) after the jump!
In The Cabin In The Woods, five college age kids head out for a weekend getaway at a…cabin in the woods. Little do our “heroes” know that they’re being set up to be slaughtered as part of a yearly sacrifice to the Ancient Ones (as explained with a brilliant cameo by Sigourney Weaver). There’s a whole team set up to manage the proceedings, which have to transpire in a very specific way for the evil to be placated. The brilliance of the concept that Whedon and Goddard throw at us lay with the fact that, while we may be cheering for our dudes and damsels in distress, we really should be hoping to see them tore limb from limb, simply to ensure the survival of the human race.
The Cabin In The Woods succeeds on so many levels – most obviously, it’s a horror film that doesn’t rely on the torture porn stylings of a series like Saw and the like; yes, there is violence and death in the film, sometimes with serious humour attached to it, but the film doesn’t seek to shock or titalate simply for the sake of. Instead, every moment feels as though it has meaning and purpose and isn’t there just to find a new way to sever limbs.
As well, The Cabin In The Woods is a homage to the best in horror storytelling. In this case, the concept of the Ancient Ones is certainly a tip of the hat to H.P. Lovecraft’s Old Ones. Lovecraft references in a mainstream horror flick? Geeks around the world no doubt rejoiced with that one.
The Cabin In The Woods sat on the shelf for a years following the financial issues that MGM ran into. When it was finally released in 2012, horror fans thoroughly embraced the film. For those looking for a thrill, it worked on that level. But for those with a ridiculous love for the horror genre, it offered us more than a few nods and winks to what makes us love getting spooked, from the various monsters that populate the movie to the stereotypical roles the ghosts in the machine try to get the kids to play out.
Out now on a Blu-Ray full of extras, The Cabin In The Woods is a love letter to us, the horror fans. Consider it as essential as it gets.