The Genius Sci-Fi Horror Movie From A Marvel Director, That Too Many Have Forgotten

So good the film world is improved by its existence.

By Steve West | Published

cabin in the woods
  • Joss Whedon’s horror movie script helped redefine the sci-fi horror genre and still holds up today.
  • Drew Goddard directs The Cabin in the Woods with a script from Joss Whedon
  • The horror movie played on different tropes from the genre
  • Even with a twist ending, the movie works on so many different levels

Joss Whedon and Drew Goddard set a new standard in meta-horror storytelling with The Cabin In The Woods, a movie so incredible that the film world is and was improved by its existence.

The worry with a film hyped by its supposed amazing twist is that there’s no way it’ll match the build-up in your mind. Have no fear in that regard. You can go into this movie with full knowledge that The Cabin in the Woods is a deconstruction and analysis of every trope found in the horror genre with nary a dent in your enjoyment of the events as they unfold.

The Cabin in the Woods twist is not the thing; the entire third act, with a full-on explosion of pure horror geekgasm, is what you’ll never see coming. Even if you think you know, the truth is that you’re in for a great surprise. And even when you do know, it’s still worth watching, and rewatching, and rewatching again.

This is the story of five college kids heading to a cabin for the weekend, but that overwrought cliché is the end of any sort of normalcy. With The Cabin in the Woods, Whedon and Goddard have created a masterful collection of archetypes, who themselves are only playing a part forced upon them by an unknown entity.

They are interesting enough to keep you engaged, but never s0 much that you linger on a death.

The pace moves quickly, and the writing reflects that. Even in moments when horror elements are at the forefront in brutally honest gore, there’s a breezy reaction to events. It’s not often that a dismembered hand is thanked so graciously.

the cabin in the woods

The story touches the satire button with a light graze, but never pushes with vigor. Whedon and Goddard deftly maneuver their characters right to the edge of every cliché (maybe we should split up!), especially as you guess what the real truth is and ignore the truth you’re told very early in the film.

The nerdy but strikingly beautiful and vulnerable virgin (Kristen Connolly) is instantly likable as she establishes a verbal repartee with the blond beauty (Anna Hutchison).

Even the stoner (Fran Kranz) turns out to be even greater than his most epic of bongs. Seriously, that is the best pot-smoking device ever to grace a movie screen.

the cabin in the woods

Bradley Whitford and Richard Jenkins steal the film in their bits as they get the best comedic moments. That’s especially true with one that involves a phone call which will have everyone roaring with laughter.

The Cabin In The Woods begs to be seen with a large audience as everyone reacts to the moments. It’ll be easy to spend the rest of this weekend exchanging “Remember when _____ was getting violently killed, but it was in the background?” anecdotes with others who’ve seen the movie.

the cabin in the woods

For all the hype this mysterious twist is getting, the story is a bit simple. Think of The Cabin in the Woods as a wonderful playground for anyone interested in horror and possibly an even greater one for those who don’t care about the genre.

By the end of the film, you realize that the story is really about the pure pleasure and joy that comes from monster movies. Who wins, who survives, who gets the girl all don’t matter because you’ve just been entertained and got to see everything you hoped would be there.