I’m running behind on seeing movies. Generally, I’ve been too busy to see most movies at the theater. There are some movies that I hear a lot about, but don’t have a lot of interest in seeing. Cabin in the Woods fits into this category. I’m a big Joss Whedon fan and I had heard some good things about it, but I’m not a huge horror fan, so I didn’t run out to see it. I finally wound up seeing it recently and found that it was much better as an idea of a movie, than it was as an actual movie.
The movie really has two separate (but ultimately related) storylines going on. We have five college aged kids packing up and going out to a cabin which is newly owned by the brother of one of the kids. The kids are the usual assortment of horror movie tropes. We have the jock, the nerd, the whore, the virgin and the fool (this does become important later). They find a hidden basement and go down looking at things. Then, one by one, they start getting killed. All in all, a standard horror movie.
At the same time, we have a couple of guys in white shirts working in some computer facility and they have video cameras tracking the kids and they are making bets about what the kids will do in the basement. It’s apparent that they are controlling (to some extent) what the kids see and do. They also have monitors showing other horror scenes from around the world.
The worlds eventually mesh and we find out that the white shirt guys and their organization is responsible for all the horror movie events (only they aren’t movies in this world) that have ever existed and provide a meta-commentary on horror movies in general. While this is a wonderful idea, the execution is just lacking. We have no reason to care about the kids or the white shirt guys. So we have no reason to care when things go wrong (or right depending on your point of view). This lack of caring hurts the movie since we are then left to rely only on the plot. And the majority of the plot is just a traditional horror movie with stupid kids doing stupid things.
Overall, it was an interesting idea for a movie. I just wish more time and more care had gone into the execution of the idea. The twist and explanation over the last third of the movie is interesting and elevates this above the standard slasher movie,but ultimately the movie is unable to stand on its own legs. Mildly recommended for an interesting idea.