The most misunderstood movie ever made. That's how I would describe The Cabin in the Woods, written during a three day stay in a hotel room by Joss Whedon and Drew Goddard. Joss produced while Drew took on the directing duties. The two men felt that horror movies have become nothing more than torture porn so they wanted to send it back to it roots. Show what horror movies are supposed to be while also making fun of them. This is the part that no one seems to understand. Cabin in the woods isn't a horror movie, it is a satire. It was advertised as a horror movie and that might be why people don't seem to understand it, but that isn't the movie or its creators fault. If you go into the movie, knowing what it is than there is no way you don't fall in love with it.
The film starts off in an office building with two guys just talking, about nothing really. Before too long Amy Acker's character comes up to them and starts telling them that everything is down to them and Japan. They are vague about what it is but that Japan has never failed and they haven't failed in a long time. As they are driving on their go-cart the title of the film shoots onto the screen as it freeze frames. It is really reminiscent of old school B-Horror movies. Kind of what you would get if you watch old Grindhouse films, or the two movies that make up Grindhouse by Quentin Tarantino and Robert Rodriguez. Now those are also movies that are misunderstood. They are so much better than people give them credit for.
From there we jump to what normal horror movies start with. A girl and her friends getting ready for a trip to the woods. We have the jock, the blonde, the stoner, the books smart guy and the good girl. As they leave for their trip we see a man on the roof watching them. He reports back to the guys from the beginning telling them that everything is going to plan. On the way to the cabin they meet someone who warns them that they should turn back. That nothing good will come from going up to the cabin.
As they drive through a mountain we see a bird get zapped by an invisible electric grid. These kids are here to stay and there is no getting out. No matter how bad they may want to. The cabin is the Jock's cousins, he just bought it and is letting them come and use it for the weekend. That is an important point coming up. So the book smart guy takes a scary picture off of his wall and finds out that he has a one way mirror into the good girl's room. He sees her about to take off her shirt but stops her. He has what we call morals. He even switches rooms with her so that she can feel better. The jock and blonde girl are trying to set the two of them up. The good girl does not know how to flirt at all. She is so bad at it that it is painful. Nor does she have the guys morals, she watches him undress, at least for a moment before putting the picture up and then covering it. After all the picture is scary as hell.
It doesn't matter that they switched rooms, she is still being watched. They all are being watched on video camera by the office guys. We also learn that they are turning these kids into the stereotypes they need. Turning the smart pre-med student into a dumb blonde. We also see that the man who warned them also works for and is mocked by the office guys.
The office guys open a betting pool on what horror story this movie will take. It's an interesting premise. They set the kids up and leaves it up to the kids to live or die. How do people shit on this movie? It is such an original idea. Has anyone ever done anything like this before? Not that I know of. People just love to hate and it is such a shame.
They dare the good girl into going down into the basement when it blows open. She screams and the other run down in after her. They find a room full of old stuff. Each from different horror movies. Which ever one finishes playing with whatever object they find first will set the stage for this horror movie. Each friend picks a different object, it comes down to the wire till the good girl summons the red neck zombies.
The Stoner hears voices that the rest of them can't. He some how knows all of this is wrong but no one listens to him. He is a stoner after all. The die is cast and the zombies come for our heroes.
Everyone is starting to act weird, not at all like themselves and only the stoner can see it. The blonde and jock most of all. He tries to have sex with her but she stops him, the office guys can't have that so they bump up the pheromones making them both want it more. While they are getting to the good part the red neck zombies attack, killing the blonde. When she dies the office guys pull a lever and it spills blood into a pattern.
The good girl tells the book smart guy that she has never had sex and then back tracks and doesn't know why she said that. Whatever they are doing to them all is affecting her as well. The good girl swears she won't leave without the blonde so the zombie throws her the blondes head. Talk about timing.
The office guys can seem to control everyone but the stoner, making the gang split up even after they decided not to. The stoner is the only one who is in at least somewhat control of himself. The zombie goes after the stoner and everyone including the office guys think he is dead, if they only knew. They pull his lever and the ground starts shaking, they think it is because the creature below is excited but it is because they pulled the lever without the sacrifice being made.
The gang makes it out of the cabin just as Japan loses for the first time. Things aren't looking good, even the cave in failed. The heroes might just escape and if they do the old ones will rise. Is this Buffy?
The cave in finally happens and they are trapped, or are they? The jock gets on his bike and tries to jump the canyon. He might just have made it if it wasn't for the electric gate that he ran right into and died. Poor guy. Now we are down to two, or well three but we think it is only two. Ahh so complicated.
The book smart guy is killed and crashes the RV into the lake. The good girl has to try and escape as it sinks to the bottom. Now that is scary. Drowning is not something that I even want to think about. So we find out that the virgin death doesn't have to happen. As long as she suffered and she has than everything is good and the ritual is complete. Only it isn't. She is on the verge of being killed and everyone is partying. Little do they know that if she dies so do they. The stoner is still alive.
They get a call telling them that the stoner is still alive. The party comes crashing down at those words. Now her almost dying becomes nail biting for the people who just moments ago were having a great time. Thankfully the stoner uses his bong to fight off the zombie and saves her as well as everyone else.
The stoner and good girl find their way underground and figure out that they are part of something bigger. She even finds out that they had picked their own horror story back in the basement. The office guys order them killed but makes sure everyone knows to kill the stoner first. He has to be the first to die or the world is doom.
All the monsters are let loose in the underground base of the office guys. Now everything hits the fans and no one is safe. It's a whole new game. Versions of monsters from almost every horror movie you have ever seen shows up. This is what the Initiative on Buffy would have been like if they had more money. It's one of the coolest scenes I have ever seen in a movie.
They even have a unicorn thrown in for good measure. You want to talk about good writing, the one office guy keeps talking about wanting to see a merman kill people, he thinks it will be the coolest thing ever. Well he lays on the ground hurt and a merman comes over to kill him. It turns out to be the lamest thing ever. He dies at the hands that he wished to see everyone else die at. Irony at it's best. Where as the other office guy is killed by the good girl. Not so good anymore.
It turns out that the weed that the stoner was smoking made him immune to everything that the office people were doing to them. They find their way into a room where the markings that are filled with blood rests. It is there that Ripley herself shows up to explain everything. The Blonde represented the whore, the jock was just the jock, as was the book smart guy. The stoner represents the fool while the good girl is the virgin or as close as they could find. The two of them learn about the old ones. They learn that if the rituals fail than the old ones rises and ends the world. They ask him to make that sacrifice. He turns down the offer. Figures that this world isn't worth dying for.
The good girl is torn, kill her friend and save the world or let the world burn. The choice is taken out of her hands when the warewolf bites her. The stoner saves her from the wolf and the zombie girl saves him from Ripley. Up comes the sun and the end of all things. The movie ends with a giant hand breaching the surface of the world, a sign of things to come. But not before learning that the jock didn't even have a cousin.
This movie is amazing. It's funny, thoughtful and exciting. It packs a powerful massage, that dying for the greater good isn't always the best thing. That if the greater good demands that you die maybe it isn't really the greater good. Sometimes the board has to be reset to zero in order for things to change.