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The Cabin in the Woods (2011)

Film review: The Cabin in the Woods (2011), directed by Drew Goddard

Written by Joss Whedon and Drew Goddard is this … peculiar horror film. It’s better the less you know about it, so I’ll try not to give too much away.

The basic premise is that a group of friends (Kristen Connolly, Chris Hemsworth, Anna Hutchison, Fran Kranz, Jessie Williams) is going away to someone’s cousin’s cabin somewhere in the woods for a weekend. As luck (not theirs, obviously) would have it, their lovely weekend getaway quickly turns into a living nightmare. In the middle of the woods, in the dark, no one can hear you scream …

Saying anything beyond that would be to spoil things, so I’ll leave it at that, although the uncharacteristic DVD menu is quickly explained. Sort of.

The Cabin in the Woods is not the sort of film that can easily be classified as just one thing. Is it a slasher? Is it a zombie film? Is it about monsters or conspiracy theories? Oh, and it’s amusing. And gory.

What’s going on outside the cabin isn’t revealed straight away, and you’re kept guessing. Parts of it were reminiscent of The Hunger Games, albeit in an entirely different context. The ending is unusual. What is going on is a novel idea, and it’s well executed too.

The cast is stereotypical, sure, but not because the scriptwriters have decided to play it safe – it’s more about poking the horror cast trope in the eye and lampshading it. The whole film, as the link actually suggests, is an exercise in lampshading.

At any rate, if you enjoy horror films, horror comedies, Joss Whedon’s writing, and/or any of the cast members, then you’ll probably enjoy this. It’s not the most excellent example of a film, but it’s well worth some popcorn-munching while wondering what the hell is going on, and why the big purge button works like a mass release button instead of mass incineration, but there you go.

3.7 out of 5 creepy paintings.


An easily distracted Swedish introvert residing in Robin Hood Country (Nottingham, UK) with a husband and two cats. She's an eager participant in tabletop and play-by-post roleplaying, woodworking, photography and European travel, when there's not a plague on.

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