The Cabin in the Woods: Familiarity and Unfamiliarity

“The Cabin in the Woods”, as the title suggests, is a horror film about five friends who travel to an isolated cabin having no idea of the terrifying events that await them. At first, when I watched the trailer of the movie, I thought that it was just another typical slasher film like most films where the characters die one at a time in their own way until the main protagonist is left on his/her own. However, as I watched the latter part of the movie, I realized I was completely mistaken since there were still a number of twists and turns throughout the plot. I absolutely loved it because both the horror and comedy genres blended really well with the storyline. I am not even surprised that the film performed really well in the box office thus, receiving generally favourable reviews and making it one of the highest grossing films of the year.

In the first part of the film, I was actually quite confused upon seeing scientists in some kind of laboratory and as a bird bumped into what seems like a force field. Also, it was when an intimidating old man appeared in a gas station that things started to become a little creepy. As I continued watching the film, there were feelings of familiarity and unfamiliarity within me. It had a sense of familiarity for the reason that killing the characters sequentially in a particular way as a result of summoning the zombies was very cliché and predictable. Moreover, the five friends were also stereotyped in such a way that they were identified specifically as the whore, athlete, scholar, fool and virgin, who all suffered based on the horror they have chosen in the basement. In contrast, upon being introduced to the underground facility where the said scientists were actually the ones responsible for the deaths of Dana’s friends, the feeling of unfamiliarity comes in. In effect, this unfamiliarity leads to the emotion of horror which the film wishes to impart among its audience.

David G. Hartwell’s major streams of horror namely horror being a moral allegory and fantastic were also evident in the film. The army of nightmares released by Dana and Marty and the Ancient Ones under the facility best manifested horror being fantastic. Although there was somewhat a lack of originality with the plot, I really appreciated the creativity of the special effects used especially with regards to the monsters. Moral allegory, on the other hand, was best described by the scene where Dana pointed a gun at Marty, believing the Director that the world would be saved if he was killed. Moreover, fatalism also played a significant role in the movie since the characters died chronologically in a specific way. Now, knowing that the scientists in the facility were the ones who should be blamed for their deaths, I began to question who the actual monsters in the film were. In addition to this, the people who betted and chose what monster will be summoned and how each character will die can be considered monsters in themselves. I think what makes the film a genuine horror film was the fact that the acts committed by these people were truly horrific and inhuman. In the end, I believe the film hoped to leave us with an important message that the true monsters originated  in humanity itself.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s