Reviewed by: Steve Warburton
Kristen Connolly … Dana
Chris Hemsworth … Curt
Anna Hutchison … Jules
Fran Kranz … Marty
Jesse Williams … Holden
Richard Jenkins … Sitterson
Sigourney Weaver … The Director
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“You think you know the story. Think again.”
Very soon after “The Cabin in the Woods” begins, we are exposed to the sight of a lovely young woman parading around in her underwear. It’s meant to be titillating, and it IS titillating. Of course, you have to expect that in a movie like “The Cabin in the Woods,” which is simultaneously a slasher flick, an homage to slasher flicks, a criticism of slasher flicks, and a re-invention of the slasher flick. And every slasher flick MUST HAVE at least two girls—one a proud slut and one a virgin (or, in this case, someone who seems virginal when she’s standing next to the proud slut). And yes, the proud slut dies first. And yes, she dies because she’s having sex. Had she been a prudent Christian, she might be alive to read this review.
I was nine years old when I became aware of the “Friday the 13th” movies. I was forbidden from watching them; told they were violent, evil and bad. Some people even tried to tell me that I’d become demon possessed if I watched one. I finally watched one when I was 10, after my relentless pleading wore down my father, who insisted on watching it with me. I slept well that night. Demons didn’t possess me, and I was proud of my maturity.
Later, I read an essay about the “Friday the 13th” movies. The writer said the films” tone was quite parental. All the kids who got killed did drugs and had sex. The good kids, the ones who said no, always survived until the end. Maybe that’s true, but I wouldn’t recommend “Friday the 13th” to a Sunday School class. I wouldn’t recommend “The Cabin in the Woods” either.
People in horror movies are maddeningly stupid. If you knew that a homicidal maniac was lurking outside your house, would you go out there alone? “The Cabin in the Woods” solves that problem by inducing temporary stupidity in the characters. It’s quite ingenious, actually. It moves the story along and extends a middle finger to creatively dead screenwriters of low budget slasher movies everywhere.
The real joy of “The Cabin in the Woods” comes in its final act, when two of the characters descend into a subterranean labyrinth whose contents could well explain every horror movie ever made. The bad guys in this movie are zombies, but it could just as easily have been werewolves, a giant snake, a phantom, an evil clown, or a little girl with a giant mouth on her face. The survivors clue in that they are part of a scientific experiment that is also a ritual. It all kind of falls apart at the end, when we get the big explanation as to why this must be done, but that doesn’t matter too much. Most movies have a lot of loose ends, but, for some reason, I was able to forgive “The Cabin in the Woods” for its share.
Okay… so there’s some scantily clad women, and, in one scene, we see a woman’s bare breasts (this seems to be essential to the plot, as she and her boyfriend’s near fornication is watched eagerly by a group of technicians.) The guys also strip down to their skivvies. That might be a red alert for women struggling with lust, but it did nothing for me.
Of course, there’s lots of violence. Someone gets their head sawn off. Someone gets a knife in the head. Someone has a truly spectacular motorcycle crash and lots of scientists, SWAP team members and monsters are brutally killed by each other.
The profanity is moderate, but not over the edge. I detest doing F-word counts and S-word counts. It’s so patronizing. But, if you must know, those words do make a few guest appearances in this movie. I believe Christ’s name was taken in vain twice, which makes me elevate this movie to the very offensive rating.
Violence: Extreme / Profanity: Heavy—OMG (10), G-damn (2), “Oh God” (2), “Jesus” (1), “Jesus Christ” (1), “Oh Christ” (1), “Swear to God” (1), f-words (50—approximately), and many other vulgar words and terms / Sex/Nudity: Heavy
See list of Relevant Issues—questions-and-answers.