The Cabin In the Woods

Directed and co-written by Drew Goddard and co-written and produced by Joss Whedon The Cabin In The Woods is a 2012 horror movie starring Kristen Connolly, Chris Hemsworth, Anna Hutchison, Fran Kranz, and Jesse Williams. Coming from the team behind both Buffy The Vampire Slayer & Angel series, you expect a good plot and yes you do get one here. However the movie does not deliver all that I had hoped it would be. There seems to be a big thrill factor missing in the movie, despite the relatively good acting, awesome special effects and production and the plot. Yes it did get mostly positive reviews and I do like it but they could have done a lot more with it.

Here are my points on the film:

  • The movie starts off with a well worn out initial plot line; 5 college friends getting together to go spend a couple of days far away from the city in a cabin deep in the woods where there are supposedly no other people, no cell phone reception, no signal of any kind and nothing else that reminds you of civilization. This is exactly the kind of place where something scary happens and usually it ends with everyone getting  killed. How many such places do you think exist in the US (although the movie itself was shot in Canada)?
  • However the difference here is a large government or secret organization has set up the entire place with video cameras and even use control the environment the group are in from afar and give them mood-altering drugs to manipulate them into following a scenario. The drugs gradually reduce the group’s intelligence and awareness, and also increase their libido. They even spray pheromones to get the blonde chick sexually stimulated in an effort to make her have sex with her boyfriend! How twisted is that?
  • So the kids settle in and while partying they find that there is a cellar with lots of stuff that belonged to the previous owners. They inadvertently read a Latin phrase that “triggers” the zombie family of the Buckners, “let loose by the technicians who are watching from their office. The blond chick is the first to die, while she is making out with her boyfriend Curt and although Curt is injured he manages to run back to the cabin to warn the others. But the zombies have already attacked the cabin.
  • Marty the pot smoker finds a camera hidden and thinks that they are a victim of a reality tv show. The technicians try to spray him with a mist that will make him forget that he has seen it but his consumption of marijuana makes him immune. So they get a zombie to break a window and drag him away into a pit. Marty manages to get the better of the zombie and stumbles upon a hidden platform that leads onto an elevator to the building below them.
  • The other three, Curt, Dana & Holden try to escape in their RV but the technicians collapse a tunnel and block their path. Curt tries to uses his bike to ride & jump over the ravine but he crashes into a force field and falls to his death. Although shocked, Dana & Holden are now sure that there is a manipulation at work and try to find another way but a zombie kills Holden and crashes the RV. Dana manages to swim to the pier but is caught by the zombie who beats her up and is about to kill her when Marty appears and saves her. Watching the technicians celebrating at having completed their “scenario” is weird – them having drinks and food while on a huge screen the zombie beats up Dana is dark comedy at it’s best!
  • Marty and Dana take the elevator down to the lower levels of the facility, passing a variety of imprisoned monsters. They understand that the items in the cellar determine which monster will be released. Scared and angry they are held at gunpoint by a soldier but he is distracted by the still moving decapitated zombie’s hand and they get his rifle and go inside. A security team then corners her and Marty, but she uses a control station to release the monsters, which massacre the facility staff – awesome scenes with all kinds of monsters running havoc! Marty & Dana go to the last level of the facility where they find  a temple adorned with large stone tablets. And they meet the director!
  • The Director – a cameo by Sigourney Weaver – explains that all this and what the kids have been through is to appease the “Ancient Ones” — beings who live beneath the facility and are kept in perpetual slumber through an annual, ritual sacrifice of five young people who embody certain archetypes: the Whore (Jules), the Athlete (Curt), the Scholar (Holden), the Fool (Marty), and the Virgin (Dana). The order in which they die does not matter, as long as the virgin is last, and her death is optional, as long as she suffers. Should the Ancient Ones awake, they will destroy the world. The Director reveals that rituals around the world have been taking place for the same purpose, but each of them failed. The Director urges Dana to kill Marty to complete the ritual. Dana draws a gun on Marty, but is attacked by a werewolf while the Director fights with Marty. The zombie girl comes and attacks the Director and Marty pushes them both in the Ancient Ones’ pit.
  • Marty & Dana resign themselves to their fate, while Marty forgives her for almost shooting him. As the movie ends the  pair accepts that it might be better for another species to take humanity’s place if this is the price of its continued existence. Marty and Dana light a joint and hold hands as the gigantic hand of an Ancient One rises up, destroying the facility and the cabin.
  • Happy to see Amy Acker (Fred from Angel) & Tom Lenk (Andrew Wells from Buffy/Angel) in small roles. Also Patrick Gilmore & Peter Kelamis from SGU are also in it for a minute. Good to see them.

Like the plot? I did but I just felt that I wanted a lot more from the movie. Still I liked it and will give it an 8 outta 10!

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