I had such high hopes for The Cabin in the Woods.
(Disclaimer – stop reading if you plan on seeing this movie because this review will pretty much ruin the story.)
Aside from Insidious, there just doesn’t seem to be any American horror movies with an original idea – they are either remakes of great Asian movies or they just fail to deliver. And unfortunately this movie is no different.
The movie starts with 5 college students – the “virgin” (Dana – Kristen Connolly), the athlete (Curt – Chris Hemsworth), The “whore” (Jules – Anna Hutchinson), the smart guy (Holden – Jesse Williams) and the idiot (Marty – Fran Kranz) heading off to a cabin in the woods for the weekend. As they stop at an old gas station on the way (complete with the creepy attendant) it is apparent that their environment is being manipulated from a “bunker” by two men ( Sitterson – Richard Jenkins and Hadley – Bradley Whitford). The kids arrive to the old cabin and are manipulated via drugs fed into the cabin via vent ducts – making the “whore” sluttier, the jock “dumber” and so on, and are coaxed downstairs into the cellar. As the kids go downstairs, Sitterson and Hadley have set up a “betting pool” on which monster the kids will pick by unknowningly interacting with certain objects in the cellar (they picked zombies). The killing starts and the numbers dwindled down to the idiot (who was immune to the drugs due to his constant pot smoking) and the virgin.
Marty has suspected all along that they were being manipulated and convinces Dana. They find a way into the bunker, freeing all the monsters that were in cells and all hell breaks loose. Dana and Marty make their way to this “altar” where Sigorney Weaver pops out and explains that this is a yearly thing to appease the “Gods” and prevents them from taking over the world. She then tells Dana she must kill Marty in order to keep the Gods from going crazy, then Weaver gets killed by a monster and ends with Mary and Dana sitting back waiting for the Gods to surface from underneath the Earth.
Now, let me point out what irked me about this movie.
First of all, there was a competition between countries on who could deliver all the sacrifices first, with comments being made about the Japanese always being first. I relate the comparison to the horror movie genre. They were right – the Japanese are the best at horror movies hands down, but the comments on how the Swedes were lacking is false (in my opinion). Movies from Europe (Fritt Vilt, High Tension, Frontiers) are just as scary and original as any the Americans put out.
Second – the Japanese were using the “white, little girl with black hair ghost” in a classroom full of girls scenario. How the hell are you going to pick a “whore” out of a classroom of little school girls, much less a jock?
Third – the end. This is an ending that Stephen King uses when he writes a great book and fails to have a decent ending (It being an example). The overall premise had promise and could have developed into some social commentary on the lack of compassion some people have on their fellow man. But they took a cheap ending.
Overall, I would have to say to wait until you can get this at Redbox; it just isn’t worth the small fortune it takes to go to the theater these days.