From all the years that I have been watching horror films, I have never thought that it could be comedic, much less as funny as the movie Cabin in the Woods. The title of the film seemingly brings to mind an expectation of a slasher film. Predictable? Yes. Three dimensional? No. But from what I learned in class, watching horror requires a clean slate, an open mind, to be able to watch the film plainly. From the time and placement of the movie title, I quickly noticed that Cabin in the Woods wouldn’t be like just any other horror movie. The big red bold letters accompanied by a sound of screams failed to reinforce the initial anticipation that I had based on the trailer.
The movie Cabin in the Woods far exceeded my expectations. It began like any other horror film – a group of five friends were going on a road trip to some deserted location. They got to the cabin, did some exploring and soon found themselves being hunted by monsters. A large quantity of monsters no less, including evil mermen, a werewolf, ghosts, monster animals and of course the redneck zombie torture family. While all this was happening, the movie would alternately jump to a different scene showing people in white coats, presumably a lab, going about their work. At first I thought that this was merely a style of “parallelism” where the director chose to show a different setting and similar things would happen to two separate groups of people, but that was not the case. The two seemingly unrelated groups of people were revealed to be dependent on each other. The people in the lab were controlling these evil monster creatures with an end goal that would result in the deaths of the five friends in the cabin. The lab sent hormones through the cabin’s air vents, and other chemicals that would affect the behavior of the group. In the end, it was revealed to the last two survivors that this was merely their destiny – to die as an offering for “the Ancient Ones” and save the world.
The term destiny here is used loosely because while the group was being given “choices” by the lab – like the foreboding meeting with the creepy man in the gas station; and the number of objects to play with in the basement – these were choices that the group would not have normally encountered. The movie became particularly good in my opinion because of the use of most if not all elements of a horror film. The writers incorporated things that would make the film a Moral, a Psychological and a Metaphysical horror. First, the movie is a Moral horror because according to the lady who showed up in the end of the film, the group was allegedly being punished for their youth. She then explained to Dana and Marty that if all 4 were killed before the virgin (Dana) then she had the chance to survive. This new knowledge put Marty’s fate in Dana’s hands, she had the choice to kill him, but as we all know this is not normal human behavior – a deviation of human behavior seen in most psychological horrors. How the lab could choose to kill all these people is also a horror. No one can choose someone else’s path. It is our own choices that light the road we travel. Lastly, the movie is also a Metaphysical horror in that the Ancients were never really presented and remained unfamiliar throughout the movie. All these elements made the movie both a comedy and a horror film to me – and something that I really enjoyed.