The Cabin In The Woods
Directed by Drew Goddard
One of the best horror/action/sci-fi/comedy/dramas you'll ever see, The Cabin In The Woods is incredibly entertaining, inventive, and totally one-of-a-kind.
Very much a movie that caters to my reviewing style of not revealing any major plot points of the movie I'm writing about, this is still not the kind of movie that could easily be spoiled for you, regardless of what you may know about it beforehand. Though the twists near the end may come as a surprise to someone who has not already had the plot revealed to them (as I would find it hard for them not to be surprised -- at least to some extent), it would be hard to put it all into context without having seen the build-up. This is very much a movie that must be seen to be believed. A cliche phrase, I admit, but still applicable.
For a movie so entrenched in the horror genre, The Cabin In The Woods is very difficult to classify as horror itself. It plays with various cliches, and even gives its own unique reasoning behind the existence of these tendencies as opposed to simply pointing out their existence, but never seems to be presented as horror movie on its own terms. You couldn't even consider it a parody, for despite providing laughs at the expense of horror stereotypes, it's hard not to take the subject entirely seriously. This movie may very well change the way you look at generic horror/slasher films of the past -- for you see, characters in these movies don't truly have control of their actions. It goes much deeper than that.
Most of my complaints surrounding this movie revolve around moments that happen near the very end. Though I feel after the significant change of pace that occurs near the beginning of the third act, the way it all eventually concluded was perfectly satisfactory. But I couldn't help but to feel the movie, as a whole, seemed to forget its place and struggled to find an adequate way to end the story. It was as if the movie was continuously trying to one-up itself. Regardless, as I look back on it, I can't see it wrapping up the story in a more satisfactory way, and considering how impossible it would have been to predict the outcome, my minor complaints should hold very little weight. In other words, no matter how you may feel about the ending, at least it wasn't predictable.
This is not a performance-driven movie by any means, but all involved do the most they can with their roles, successfully absorbing stereotype and providing good entertainment. If the characters at times feel like cardboard cut-outs, don't be surprised. They were intended to be that way. This being the case, no single performance stands out above the rest, but rather all work together as a whole to enhance the effectiveness of the story: much like the individual aspects of the plot.
When it comes to pure entertainment value, this is one of the most fun movies I've seen all year. With a wickedly dark sense of humor, plenty of gore, action, human drama, and a little bit of sci-fi thrown in, there are few demographics this movie doesn't hit. It's not particularly scary, though there are a few moments that will make you jump, making it difficult to consider a horror movie, but isn't focused enough on being any other genre for me to consider it action, comedy, sci-fi, or even drama.
So now, on to the most difficult part of the review; to collect my thoughts and give it a rating. Just as this movie is impossible to attach a single genre to, I also find it impossible to give a rating. But to summarize my opinions, I was completely entertained throughout the entire running time, I appreciated its intentions, and was very impressed in its execution. Minor complaints aside, this is one of, if not the most, entertaining movies I've seen all year, and one I can definitely see myself revisiting at some point in the near-future. Highly recommended.
July rating edit.