To be perfectly honest, I didn’t watch Cabin in the Woods when it was still showing in the cinemas because judging from the previews I thought it would be just another one of those group-of-teens-stuck-in-woods-who-get-killed-one-by-one movies. I had the same exact preconceived notions when we were about to watch the film. I was already expecting the characters to be chased and horrifically murdered one by one, the only thing unknown to me was the actual cause of death. I made a self-bet; perhaps it would be ghost related, or maybe zombie, or maybe something mythical. Turns out it was all these and more.
When one goes back to think about it, it was like a hodge podge of all those horror stereotypes put into one. You have the group of young adults, an isolated cabin in the woods, redneck zombies, ballet dancing flesh eaters, sea monsters, age-old rituals involving human sacrifice and virgins, mythical creatures, giant gods, you name it. What seemed only as some out of this world technological ability to contain and control an environment was starting to mold into a magical realm. Computers, wires, nobs and gizmos were actually used to control actual creatures that cause terror and impose real danger. The deaths were not artificial and the killers were not remote controlled robots. When one comes to think about it, it seems the marriage of the two is what horror films try to use to actually scare people. Films employ the magic of special effects that appear at the click of a button while at the same time preying on the audiences’ subconscious belief that monsters and ghosts and creatures beyond our imaginations exist. The perfect combination of the two can create the screams and chills to an open audience.
Moving on to the concept of fate in the movie, we saw how it was a sort inevitable entrapment. While the group had the ‘choice’ (I wouldn’t call it choice per se, more like chance of which monster is triggered first by the random object) in the end, the control was still up to those people in the laboratory to change circumstance in order to favour the people’s deaths. If the victims weren’t as alert or smart, they wouldn’t have even escaped the cabin setting, the normal course of events would all lead to their death. But looking back, it begs the question of whether there is such a thing as a divine intervention that predetermines one’s destiny. In the film, man was still in control of the another man’s fate. It was not a supernatural being that brought about their demise, but rather man made technologies that control monsters. Unlike other films where fate seems to be the main puppeteer, it was actually in the hands of man in this movie. An interesting twist to what to me seemed like just another one of those horror flicks.
Overall, I actually enjoyed the movie for its oddness and uncanny ability to keep me saying ‘what the heck…’ While it may seem like just another one of those teen horror movies, I like the way it surprised me in more ways than one.