Spooktober Movie Review: The Cabin in The Woods (2011)

What is The Cabin in The Woods?

Five college friends spend the weekend at a remote cabin in the woods, where they get more than they bargained for. Together, they must discover the truth behind the cabin in the woods. The Cabin in The Woods is directed by Drew Goddard and stars Kristen Connolly, Frank Kranz, and Chris Hemsworth.

My favorite type of horror is always horror that’s enlaced with comedy. I’m not sure where this love of horror movies with comedy traces back to if I had to guess I would probably say it was my first viewing of the Scream franchise that made me so in love with the meta, quippy, funny, but still a little scary horror movie. I bring this up because Cabin in The Woods is all of those things and I adore it for it. When I first watched The Cabin in The Woods I really wasn’t expecting anything. I didn’t have high expectations, I just went in it for a fun time and that’s exactly what I got. But on repeat viewings, I appreciate it even more than I did on my first viewing because even though it is a charming little horror film, it also is a critique of the horror genre. Much like Scream, it calls out the horror genre in unique and exciting ways by subverting the viewers’ expectations. It voiced its criticisms of the horror by inheriting all its cliches and tropes and turning them over their heads.

This really isn’t a surprise once you learn who wrote the film, Joss Whedon. Whedon does for The Cabin in The Woods is exactly what he did for his series Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Buffy was born out of the idea that the young woman in the horror movie who runs away from the monster instead of running away and being killed by this monster, the woman turns around and fights the monster. It’s a subversion that worked in the 90s for Buffy and Whedon was able to make it work again in the 2010s with The Cabin in the Woods. I wouldn’t surprised if he tries to subvert another trope for another show or movie soon that is if he isn’t cancelled even more than he already is. Regardless, I love The Cabin in The Woods because of the commentary it provides on a genre that I love, but a genre that doesn’t have the best track record especially with its treatment of women and minorities. The Cabin in the Woods is able to provide an analysis of the horror genre in a nuanced way while maintaining being its own entertaining film.

You would think a film that tackles such big commentary of an entire genre to be serious. But The Cabin in the Woods isn’t that at all. It’s the exact opposite. It’s a blast to watch and it doesn’t take itself too seriously. Maybe that’s why I didn’t catch all the commentary it provided when I first watched it, but that’s what makes repeated viewings all the more special for me. I make a new observation every time I view it and because of things like that, that make me look forward to every rewatch. And the more years that passed from its release date, The Cabin in the Woods criticism of the horror genre doesn’t correlate as much anymore. The horror genre continues to change and grow for the better with better handling of women and minorities in front of the screen and with more women and people of color behind the scenes as well. Nevertheless, The Cabin in The Woods is a nice reminder of the horror genre’s past and where the genre can go.

2 responses to “Spooktober Movie Review: The Cabin in The Woods (2011)”

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