I think Cabin in the Woods is of the love-hate kind; it’s either you love it or you hate it. I was of the latter. To properly and objectively review the horror film worthiness of the movie, I’m going to have put aside the fact that the ending of this movie was subjectively (please don’t hate me) corny. Although there was a point in saying that the price of the survival of humankind was too violent for it to be considered a good means to an end, I felt like it was simply a deus ex machina type rather than an organic and natural path to the ending of the movie. Of course, I position myself in a more classical and traditional standpoint of how a story should go.
That said, the movie reminded me of Scream and Drag Me to Hell in the sense that comedy was mixed into the script, which amused horror film fans. There were two stories happening at the same time, which was the foundation of the movie’s twist: the first, which was the typical horror plot of a group of teenagers going into an eerie house and the second, which consisted of a group people in lab coats, making sure that the typical horror plot goes as smoothly as planned. Peculiarly, although there isn’t an unknown in the sense that we know that someone is rigging the whole thing, it still had the element of fear because you don’t quite know if the group will get to the root of what’s happening or get out of the situation they’re in.
The film wasn’t strictly under a certain stream of horror. It was a mix between two of those set by David Hartwell: moral allegorical and the fantastic. It was moral allegorical because it played with the characters’ sense of morality: murder five to save the rest of the billions in the world. To add, it was a story of decisions, as one of the lab coat guys said: “they have to make the choice out of their own free will.” It was fantastic due to the element of fear incited by the monsters and the “ancients.”
Horror is, as was said in class, an entrance of the unfamiliar into the familiar. With the first level of the plot, the teenagers were frightened by what they didn’t expect would happen to them during this weekend getaway and the second level, the laboratory people weren’t expecting the teenagers to figure out what was happening and let the monsters loose on them; therefore, a double “uncanny.” In a sense, the movie was also interactive in the sense that the unfamiliar wasn’t just in the characters of the movie but also with the audience. Delving more into the typical feel of the movie, I have to agree with positive reviews that the film was more than just the script: it was about the audience seeing the familiarity in the movie and being horrified in realizing that horror films today aren’t as great as their predecessors.
All in all, there was a reason I didn’t like the movie. I didn’t like it because there were too many moments that I went “what the hell?” in, but I’m guessing that’s a reaction the filmmakers expected. It was a horror “awakening” in a sense, for all audiences.