I have to admit that I didn’t understand Cabin in the Woods very much at first. It took one quick comment from the person beside me for the whole film to finally make some sense to me.
“It’s a satire, somewhat of a commentary on the horror genre.”
At first, I wasn’t sure if Cabin in the Woods was serious, trying to pull off the far-fetched Gods-of-the-underworld business, it seemed too challenging to actually portray realistically, but I clenched my jaw and tried to understand it in that perspective. But as soon as I realized it was a satire about the horror genre in general, my mind was blown by the sheer genius of whoever came up with the idea to poke fun at the horror-film-formula.
I think the greatest part about Cabin in the Woods was that the satire was so subtle. I actually did think “wow, five teens on holiday in the woods, how typical” which is exactly what the producers want you to think! I started getting weirded out by the part the lab came in, I honestly expected the film to just unravel into torture porn, but when it became an actual game of mixing and matching different horror film deaths, the satire started making so much sense.
I loved how the viewers felt a bit of a connection with the people in the labs by knowing about the “higher power” that the victims only discovered later on. It made me feel like the audience was taking part in this secret tradition by simply knowing what was going on.
Aside from the genius plot concept, I loved how each famous horror icon had its own little object of representation, like the journal for the zombie-rednecks, the music box for the killer ballerina, and the conch shell for the mermen, it added a nice touch and gave much importance to the power of choice in horror.
The only thing I didn’t like about Cabin in the Woods was perhaps the computer-manipulated graphics of some of the monsters, especially the moment they were purged from their vaults. However, this isn’t the fault of the animators but my own impatient thirst for high-tech animation.
Overall, I would definitely recommend Cabin in the Woods to fellow horror film fans, simply because I think they would catch on the brilliant concept much faster than those who don’t watch horror films often. I’ve met a few people who thought of it as a terrible film because they couldn’t grasp the references or understand why there was a lab in the first place.