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Cabin in the Woods
Reviewed by Gary Mitchel, © 2012

Format: Movie
By:   Drew Goddard (director), Joss Whedon
Genre:   Horror
Review Date:   April 19, 2012

"Quote from and relevant to the movie." – Character in flick

You are a regular reader of RevolutionSF.com. (I know that because you are smart, funny, and charming). So you know how we start off reviews here, with that little quote blurb above this one. I started it long ago, because I thought it was a fun way to give a taste of the movie that doubled as a setup for how I felt about the movie.

For Cabin in the Woods, I can’t do that. I can’t tell you anything about this masterful entry to the horror genre except this:


If you’re at work or school, use a sick day. Don’t even stop to turn off the computer, just get up and walk away, get into your car, and get yourself to the theater. Buy a ticket, some popcorn and get ready to have two hours of fun and scares and laughs and blood and jokes and just awesomeness.

Really, that’s all you need to know.

That’s all you want me to tell you.


Because this movie is, as its poster shows, a wonderful, intricate puzzle box, put together by two masterful writers, guided by a skilled director and performed by talented actors. Every character has their own charms and depth. The story will drag you in and keep you guessing until the end, and you will want to see this again in the theater as well as own it on DVD.

In a regular film, I could give you more of a description than that. I could outline the basics of the plot, tell you who’s in it and who they are, and it would not lessen the impact of watching the film. That is not the case here. Not with this movie.

If I told you anything more about it, I would be robbing you of joy.

Stealing from you that jolt as you realize that X is X, or that A means B. Plot moments. Fun, infinitely quotable dialogue that you already knew would be there. (This is a Joss Whedon production, after all), great characters and a film that I guarantee will end up on quite a few top ten lists at the end of the year.

There are quotes that will be on geek T-shirts, characters that will be cosplayed and those who have seen it will spend hours debating and discussing what various bits mean, refer to and how this movie relates to other horror films.

And I dare not tell you anything to expect, because honestly, I feel like that would be a disservice to you, and to this film.

This movie is a puzzle, a maze, and if I were to give you any kind of a map at all, it could ruin the experience or take from you the joy of discovery and revelations inside it.

It’s like a haunted house. In your first trip through, the thrill comes from all jump scares from the various bits popping out at you, trap doors opening, monsters behind curtains, chainsaws roaring to life, until you pop out the end of the ride, exhilarated.

The second time through is also fun, but this time it's less shocking because you know what to expect, you know which way you’re going, know where all the monsters are, and brace yourself for the chainsaw wielding maniac. You still enjoy the ride, watch everyone else scream, but that initial jolt, that magic of discovery is gone.

And even though it’s my job to tell you what to expect from a film, I cannot take that jolt from you. Not on this movie. This is the only reason I’m giving the movie a nine and not a ten. Because a good chunk of the movie’s fun comes from that initial discovery.

At the same time, Cabin in the Woods is not a one-trick pony. It’s not a case where it’s only fun that first time through, and then once you’ve seen the secret, you don’t need to see it again. This movie has enough layers and events that demand re-watching to catch everything, and will reward repeat viewings.

It’s a masterful take on horror by Drew Goddard and Joss Whedon, a writer/director team at the top of their game.

You owe it to yourself, and I owe it to you, to give you the chance to stumble through these dark woods, full of terror and fear and blood and laughs on your own, relying on the movie's guideposts and not mine, or anyone else's.

So here’s my duty as a reviewer fulfilled; Cabin in the Woods is an amazing horror film. It has a fantastic script, and a wonderful cast. If you enjoy scary movies of any kind, or anything Whedon & Goddard have done in the past, you will have a great time.

Once you have seen it, find someone else who has and spend a long time discussing the flick.

And for your friends who haven’t, please don’t ruin it for them, or SPOILER will SPOILER all over your SPOILER until you SPOILER SPOILER SPOILER and that stain will never come out.

RevSF's Cabin in the Woods Saturation Coverage

Our exclusive interview with Joss Whedon and Drew Goddard!

This review by Chris McCaleb has a couple of spoilers.

This review by Tammie Snowden has a spoiler or two.

Gary Mitchel (@Gary_Mitchel ) is the co-host of our podcast, the RevolutionSF Roundtable.

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