Josh Wilding Reviews: THE CABIN IN THE WOODS

Written by Joss Whedon (The Avengers) and Drew Goddard (Cloverfield), there has been an understandable amount of hype surrounding this clever take on a horror movie. Does it manage to live up to it? Well, yes and no. [Minor Spoilers Ahead]

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By Josh Wilding - 4/17/2012

There has been an awful lot of hype surrounding The Cabin in the Woods. For months, we've had to endure the endless gushing of bloggers and reviewers who have praised the film as a bold new step which redefines the horror genre. So, does it? Well, no, not really. While the concept is undeniably clever and original, the majority of it falls flat, making it likely that only the most hardcore of horror fanboys will end up viewing The Cabin in the Woods as being worthy of the praise heaped upon it. Joss Whedon and Drew Goddard's script is good, but ends up being neither quite as clever or funny as it wants to be. Some of the jokes feel particularly out of place, although a lot of the dialogue does feels natural and entertaining. However, it never drags and there are definitely a fair few memorable moments. Goddard's directorial debut is good, if somewhat unremarkable. It should definitely be worth keeping an eye on his future projects though.

As you may or may not already know, there's a big twist in the film and if you'd rather know nothing at all about that, it's probably best to stop reading now. Part of the film is your typical slasher movie fare and that's exactly where the things go wrong. The characters are a clichéd bunch, and entirely uninteresting and one-dimensional. While this is sort of the point, it makes them no less tedious to watch. How are we supposed to care about these guys when they're so damn unlikeable?! There are some decent scares and gore which make the scenes at the cabin genuinely frightening and fun. On the other side of the equation, we have the big "twist" and that at least does provide some entirely original moments. Seeing an outside force pulling the strings results in some of the best parts of The Cabin in the Woods, while also adding some real depth and mystery to proceedings. It's a neat twist on what we've come to expect from films such as this one and it's nearly impossible not to immensely enjoy all of this. If anything, it's a shame that there's not even more of it! The last twenty minutes or so is complete chaos and some are sure to find it all a bit too silly. A cameo falls flat (it feels far too similar to another they made recently) and the ending is a mixture of "Huh?" and "WTF?"

Performances vary, although it should come as no surprise to learn that Chris Hemsworth shines. His American accent is as flawless as the English one used in THOR, and this particular role demonstrates what a diverse actor he is. The stunning Anna Hutchison also does a decent enough job, although both she and Kristen Connolly aren't given the material they needed in order to give the film the strong female character it could have done with (unusual for Whedon). The latter is clearly meant to fill this role, but simply doesn't. Jesse Williams is forgettable, while Fran Kranz's pothead will leave you wanting to put your head through the nearest wall. Some will undoubtedly find his ramblings and antics amusing, but it's hard to imagine either why or how. The cast is filled out with a handful of good supporting performances, although the always reliable Richard Jenkins stands out more than anyone else. In terms of special effects, The Cabin in the Woods is surprisingly CGI heavy and it mostly works apart from a few scenes here and there.

Undeniably fun at times and baffling at others, The Cabin in the Woods is a so-so comedy, a mediocre horror and a genius idea all crammed into one film. Worth checking out, but far from essential.





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incrediblesuperbatspider - 4/17/2012, 11:58 AM
The most insane movie I have seen all year. Nothing like youve seen before guys, takes the genre to another level.
vanillabear - 4/17/2012, 12:00 PM
Great review man:) I actually enjoyed it even if the end was a little crazy
incrediblesuperbatspider - 4/17/2012, 12:02 PM
"Feels far to similar to another they made recently"
Which cameo are you referring to?
CrowPirate1 - 4/17/2012, 12:02 PM
I just saw this. I agree with Josh, but I have to be strong on some aspects. If I go see a comedy, I want to really laugh. Out loud if possible. Not just be amused or chuckle. If I go to a horror film, I want to feel a lil tension, and have a roller coaster ride.

This movie, like Scream on, has tried to straddle the fence. I agree with Josh, Chris was fantastic, and the women underused. The pothead wasn't very cool, funny, or interesting. And Chris's friend seems to have been just thrown in there.

but bottom line: was it clever? yes. Was it scary? naw. Was it funny? nope.

afterwards, I felt slightly ripped off, on some level.
CrowPirate1 - 4/17/2012, 12:03 PM
sorry. Just being honest.
Godzillafart - 4/17/2012, 12:11 PM
I think Josh and Crow are being a bit harsh. I found it tense, fun, refreshingly original and laugh out loud funny.
ralfinader - 4/17/2012, 12:13 PM
Thanks for the review. No plans on seeing this one in the theater, but will at least see on On-Demand or something before I look to buy the DVD.
GreyChaos13Zero - 4/17/2012, 12:18 PM
will be a blu-ray buy for me?)
imnotahero - 4/17/2012, 12:19 PM
It's my new favorite film. I disagree with almost every single one of your negative criticisms. It's definitely Whedon's type of humor, which some consider to be too childish, but not me. 5 out of 5.
GiantNerd0720 - 4/17/2012, 12:22 PM
Whoa. I've seen a lot of throw away horror movies and this is extremely far from that. My girlfriend screamed out loud in the theater and I found it to be really tense and disturbing in parts. I am a enormous horror fan and this is a love letter to the genre. Pretty disappointed by the review. A lot of thought and love was put into this movie and it shows in my opinion.
GiantNerd0720 - 4/17/2012, 12:25 PM
@imnotahero I agree completely. You're the man brotha. :P
RorMachine - 4/17/2012, 12:25 PM
I think if you maybe had embraced it more as a comedy than a horror you might have gotten more out of it, I was also disappointed in the horror elements..it was great fun because I'm a big horror buff, but actual scares were kinda none existent. I very quickly resigned myself to the fact this was going for laughs first and foremost and had a blast with it.
GiantNerd0720 - 4/17/2012, 12:29 PM
@Dromeo The lady at the end. I don't want to give anything away for people who haven't seen it.
liveman789 - 4/17/2012, 12:30 PM
Yeah, you're definitely being a bit too harsh an sorta missing some of the points of the film.

But an opinion is an opinion.
ManofSteel22 - 4/17/2012, 12:31 PM
I personaly loved the film,I knew there was twist,but you dont expect of how much this ''twist'' goes and its actually a very clever idea tbh
GiantNerd0720 - 4/17/2012, 12:34 PM
@ror machine I agree. I'm never really scared in a movie but i'm not going to lie I jumped at least three times. I feel like the beginning scene set you up for what kind of movie you were supposed to be enjoying.
incrediblesuperbatspider - 4/17/2012, 12:37 PM
@giantnerd
I know that lady( everyone knows who she is lol) I was talking about the other cameo that Josh said was too similar to the one in this movie.
GiantNerd0720 - 4/17/2012, 12:40 PM
Lol. My bad. Think "Paul"
CPBuff22 - 4/17/2012, 12:43 PM
I LOVED THIS MOVIE! I know all caps is annoying but I may have actually just yelled this at the computer after reading the review. I went in expecting very little and was blown away. One of the best parts for me is Joss managed to bring in actors from his other work (Angel, Dollhouse, Avengers) with out it distracting you from the movie.

I also watched this movie in a DBOX chair for the first time ever and I must say I way preferred that over 3D movies. In fact I plan to see Avengers in IMAX 3D during Midnight release and then take my 8yo to see the movie that Friday in DBOX Seats.
ItsATrap - 4/17/2012, 12:56 PM
gotta say i totally disagree. i saw this movie earlier this week, and loved absolutely everything about it. i thought it was well-paced and the characters weren't nearly as one-dimensional as you're making them out to be. Chris Hemsworth was more than simply "the jock" character we've all come to expect in these types of films, he turns out to be someone of genuine intelligence and caring.
when i go see a movie, i'm fine with hearing other people's thoughts on it beforehand. but it should be different than anything i've seen before, which is what made this great. i don't care if its a horror or a comedy or a drama, i walk into the theater wanting to see a movie, and i don't compare it to other movies that claim to be of a similar genre. if a scene is funny, its funny. if its scary, its scary. as long as they all fit together to form a cohesive, interesting, entertaining story, i have no complaints, and in that sense goddard and whedon did a fantastic job on this movie.
Fogs - 4/17/2012, 12:58 PM
@DoctorWho - WTF? What's your problem man?

Haven't seen it yet. I'm probably having a look disregarding my disbelief in recent horror movies and due to the mixed reviews (mostly good).
bleedthefreak - 4/17/2012, 12:59 PM
Wow...um I disagree with literally every single criticism you have made about this movie. Normally when I disagree with you about movies it is a reasonable difference in opinion, but this time I feel like you are just ripping into little things just to set yourself apart as one of the few who hate this movie.
Yodawars - 4/17/2012, 12:59 PM
Cabin in the woods was a phenomenal movie. Sourpatch64 You are a straight prick for posting a comment like that. I've done really well avoiding Avengers rumors and you post that in here on a board that has nothing to do with Avengers! Thanks for the spoiler A-Hole
GiantNerd0720 - 4/17/2012, 1:03 PM
@yodawars I'm with you. I would thoroughly enjoy slapping that kid for posting that. Sorry for the hostility everyone.
Yodawars - 4/17/2012, 1:07 PM
I wish I could could put into words at the moment my love for Cabin in the woods, but I'm too busy trying to Woosah myself back down from that massive spoiler...
Yodawars - 4/17/2012, 1:09 PM
At least I see the comment was taken down...
AlienRobotZombieOverlord - 4/17/2012, 1:09 PM
I was thoroughly entertained. I'm a casual fan of horror, and a big fan of film in general. This was a refreshing take. It's not overly scary or overly funny, just a little of both, but that's ok, because it's not meant to be a horror or a comedy. It's a mind-[frick] movie. That's its genre. And it succeeds wonderfully. There were unexpected twists everywhere - it both celebrated horror cliches and subverted them. The audience in my theater were really into it. I turned to my buddy at the end and said, "That's crazy!"
subzero1077 - 4/17/2012, 1:19 PM
This movie was absolutely amazing! What a payoff that ending had.
Fogs - 4/17/2012, 1:23 PM
GiantNerd0720 & Yodawars - I reported the prick.
GiantNerd0720 - 4/17/2012, 1:33 PM
@fogs Thanks man. I can't understand why people get enjoyment out of that shit.
Sourpatch64 - 4/17/2012, 1:44 PM
SPOILER: RIP Mark VI Iron Man suit and Agent Coulson
SuperFrost - 4/17/2012, 1:49 PM
SPOILER: FREAKING UNICORNS....LMFAO!!!! This movie was very entertaining!
Squaremaster316 - 4/17/2012, 1:50 PM
To be honest, Whedon has always been lacking when it comes to legit scares or terror in his productions. The closest he's come to it is the Gentlemen in Hush.

Steven Moffat, however; Weeping Angels and Vashta Nerada, knuckle gripping is an understatement.
Fogs - 4/17/2012, 1:53 PM
RIP Sourpatch64's butt virginity.
Fogs - 4/17/2012, 1:54 PM
NOW you can call me a mean bully, kid. LOL!
OdinsBeard - 4/17/2012, 1:57 PM
loved it
GiantNerd0720 - 4/17/2012, 2:05 PM


Sourpach64 - 4/17/2012 2:10 PM
Abuse Alert! - Major Douche (10)
MovieMaster - 4/17/2012, 2:12 PM
@DoctorWho- Right. That would explain Josh and DCMarvelFreshman having two completely different Twitter accounts and looking completely different -___________________-
leftcoastpunk - 4/17/2012, 2:27 PM
Thanks for the heads up guys about sourpussy64 and his spoilers! Luckily I avoided it, now I know to scroll down the second I see his dumbass name.
CyberBishop - 4/17/2012, 2:32 PM
I saw it and thoroughly enjoyed it, I even plan on seeing it again. The review is nice but a bit harsh.
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