From the outset it is evident that this is not your typical ‘group of kids go to a cottage in the woods and get slaughtered’ movie. God knows (and apparently evil deities as well) that that has been a tried and tested movie plot since the dawn of time or at least when this concept was freshly lensed in the original Evil Dead.
This movie begins with exactly such a group of kids make their way to such a deserted log cabin and for a few minutes the audience is lulled into believing we’re going down that path again. But suddenly we also get interspersed scenes of some official command center, replete with white collar office personnel who not only see every move the kids make and hear what they are saying, but also seem to be betting on the kids taking one course of action over another. What is going on here?
The movie poster of an Escher inspired cabin turned in on itself with directions and orientation being twisted as one would a Rubik cube is more apropos than you can imagine. Until the point where the kids themselves figure out that they are being watched and somewhat manipulated, we too can cheer and groan at every move those kids make. But it takes ‘us’ a while to figure out exactly what is going on. And the kids, well they don’t still don’t know why and won’t know until the very end.
I hate to give away the secret of “Cabin in the Woods” but I do give credit that it is a new take on an old dog. We’re not handed the story neatly wrapped in a package, but are instead given odd and tantalizing clues (including a gamut ranging from horror movie tropes to uniformed Japanese schoolgirls), but when we have the whole picture it packs a wallop and we can really appreciate the novel take.
The ending is almost just a formality and could go either way as it would not make a difference to the overall enjoyment of watching the progression of the movie. It’s just nice to see something really new for a change, even if it’s based on the most overused horror clichés possible. In fact the greatest achievement may be that it did take those very clichés and spun them into something new. Is it any wonder that Joss Whedon was one of the writers? Sometimes I swear that man can do no wrong.
Know, what I’m saying? Probably not. Just watch the movie…