‘The Cabin in the Woods’: entertaining and eccentric retake on horror genre

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Theresa Whang

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Like an unexpected blow of an ax behind the head, The Cabin in the Woods knocks viewers with its originality and hilarious take on the absurdity of horror clichés.

The movie starts out with classic horror film characters: the blonde, the jock, the egghead, the stonner and the virgin. These five college friends decide to go spend a weekend in a cabin in the woods, but they awake to something they shouldn’t have. It really does seem like a classic horror movie. At this point audiences begin to think that they already know the movie. But they’re wrong.

Joss Whedon ( Buffy: the vampire slayer) and Drew Goddard ( Cloverfield) playfully dismembered the traditional rules of horror films thus creating this eccentric “Scream”-esque film.

It’s hard to answer the question, “What is so original about this movie?” without spoiling the film. “The Cabin in the Woods” is a twist on the genre.  Therefore, that twist, which undermines both strengths and weaknesses of modern horror genre, is the whole point of this film. To movie maniacs who are tired of watching horror movies with different titles but same plot,  The Cabin in the Woods won’t be the waste of their 95 minutes.

As the film unfolds, the directors’ humorous subtexts are revealed in the character design, dialogue, and set designs referring notable horror culture figures such as “Evil Dead II”, “Hellrasier”, various Stephen King novels, and even a ghostly reference of H.P. Lovecraft. When put together, the allusions develop a sort of “Where’s Waldo?” with Whedon and Goddard’s gleeful inside jokes instead of a guy in a red and white turtleneck.

Sure there is violence, blood, and decapitated heads; after all it is a horror movie with an R rating. However, in the midst of the gory, chaotic scenes you will find yourself hysterically laughing. The outrageous truth about this movie is that you will even find the menacing rampage of nightmarish creatures eerily comforting.

Although the movie is witty and original, it will leave some of viewers confused because the film’s doesn’t build catharsis. It seems that Whedon and Goddard created this unique film as their prank on the current dysfunctional horror film industry or just to share inside jokes with fellow horror movie lovers.

Love it or hate it,  it is certain that after watching “The Cabin in the Woods,” people will walk out of the theater and murmur “I have never seen anything like it.”

By Theresa Whang