Movie Issues: Dual Review “Cabin in the Woods”

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Movie Issues: Dual Review “Cabin in the Woods”

Leland and Spooky saw another movie, so you know what that means: another Dual Review! We take the best two nerds can offer and give it to you for the price of a single admission. This week, the boys were blessed by fate with the chance to see Cabin in the Woods.  Filmed in 2009, but held back by studios who wanted it converted to 3D (despite the writers’ strong objections), this horror/sci-fi romp is Thor’s Chris Hemsworth’s first staring role; supported by a handful of the Whedon-verse’s familiar faces.

Find out why Cabin in the Woods gets the Movie Issues stamp of approval as a recommended must-see.


First and foremost Cabin in the Woods is one hell of a movie, a great ride though horror and comedy. It’s very hard to give an apt description of the film without ruining it. There are so many twist and turns that this is one movie fans will be talking about for years.

The film’s core is a loving homage to the horror genre, with a shining cast and awesome effects. My expectations going into this movie were mediocre at best, having heard nothing about the film. Reviews and spoilers were very hard to get out of people. Now seeing it, I now know why. Having heard things like “game changer” and “never saw that coming” being tossed around, this made me more curious as to what I was in for.

The characters are all enjoyable; though they fit into their stereotypical horror roles very well (The Jock, The Brain, The Tease, Virgin, etc) the actors’ performances are universally wonderful. Not a single one feels out of place or phones it in. This means you feel for them as characters much more than usual; you don’t just want them to lose as you often do in a slasher film. We see familiar faces: Chris Hemsworth, Richard Jenkins, Bradley Whitford, theJoss Whedon fan favorites Amy Acker and Tom Lenk. No one is underused in this.

This movie relies on its nature as an homage – many horror films try toying with the genre’s conventions, but this one has far more success. The second and third acts are exceptional and never leave you time to catch your breath.

The standard “drunk, over-sexed kids in a cabin” plot is practically a subgenre in horror, but it works to the movie’s advantage by playing with your expectations before smacking you in the face with something completely different. Setting you up for one thing and then giving you something completely different is what makes this a top horror film – which makes it hard to talk about, despite my desire, since it just wouldn’t be fair. This is one film that needs to be seen without knowing a thing.

Opening on Friday the 13th helps too.


What do you get when you take your average band of cliched college kids, mix them with your standard romp in the woods, and add a dash of “WTF, unicorn?!”

You get Cabin in the Woods!!

The trailer for Cabin in the Woods cannot do this movie justice, since it’s best to hide all the really juicy stuff going in. That said, the trailer is a little misleading; yes, college kids go to the woods to party and yes that one guy’s a stoner, but as the movie truly begins everything starts changing. Take my word for it to avoid spoilers: the movie is anything but cliche. Cabin in the Woods smartly spins every slasher-horror film cliche on its head in a well-paced homage to the classic horror feel of the 80s that isn’t afraid to play with typical archetypes.

Each main character falls into familiar horror roles (promiscuous girl, bookworm virgin, alpha male jock), but the film gives each of them life. The monsters do their jobs just right – each is convincingly terrifying, and the truth is only gradually revealed as the cast is narrowed down, maintaining genuine suspense. The movie clearly aims to evoke older horror and slasher films’ laurels for comparison.

Joss Whedon (Avengers, Buffy) and Drew Goddard (Cloverfield, Lost) team up again to do what they’ve both been known to do best” campy action and clever twists. Expect to get a little taste of everything: each character death’s stand alone as creative, villains are believable, and the finale is well worth the overpriced soda and popcorn.