The Cabin in the Woods
Joss Whedon and Drew Goddard have delivered the impossible: A smart horror film.
I’m not a fan of horror films. There’s a small collection of them that I like, but if I had to make a single, broad statement about the horror film genre it would be, “I don’t like horror films.” I see it as a genre that, like all other genres, is rich with story-telling potential but, unlike other genres, it has squandered this potential on formulaic story-telling, terrible scripts, unlikable characters and a recent over-reliance on “the gross-out factor.” I am, however, a very big fan of Joss Whedon.
Joss Whedon is one of those names that makes me sit up with attention. If he’s writing something, directing something, producing something or standing in line at his favorite grocery store, debating whether or not he should buy a pack of peanut M&M’s and eat them on the way home in such a fashion that no-one would ever know he had said M&M’s and thus not hurt his chance at a tasty desert after dinner with no “you should have more guilt” glances from his wife, I want to know. Other names on this list are: Aaron Sorkin, David Tennant, Steven Moffat, and Christopher Nolan.
So when I heard he was co-writing a horror film about a cabin in the woods with the writer of Cloverfield, I had to know more. But that’s the thing about this movie, the less you know, the better. There are so many wonderful reveals that you are going to want to experience for the first time in the theater that I am going to do my best to say absolutely nothing about the content of this film.
The trailer should have been a black screen with: DREW GODDARD. JOSS WHEDON. THE CABIN IN THE WOODS. 4/13/12
Here’s what I will say about this movie: If you’re a fan of horror films, you’re going to really dig this movie. If you are not a fan of horror films, then you should know that this is absolutely a horror film. The very likeable cast plays the types of characters you’ve come to expect to see in American horror films. But Whedon and Goddard’s writing elevate it beyond that to something so much more. Half way through this film, you’ll be contemplating the necessity of horror films in modern society? You’ll question human nature and note that the horror film has, in many ways, replaced the Roman Colosseum and the gladiator games of yore. You’ll wonder what role they play in the human psyche and if there’s a deep, dark thirst they slake that would otherwise turn to evil. You’ll also be wondering if . . .
No, never mind. That would be giving too much away.
It’s an incredibly fun film, filled with the kind of snappy dialogue and characters you’ve come to expect from Joss Whedon. It’s very entertaining and a very impressive first film from now-director Drew Goddard. It’s like I said, Joss Whedon and Drew Goddard have delivered the impossible: A smart horror film.