Cabin in the Woods explained

The Mary Sue's Jamie Frevele nails the awesomeness underpinning The Cabin in the Woods. Spolers ahoy.


  1. (Spoilers.) I liked Cabin a hell of lot, and it was probably one of the smartest pop movies I’ve seen in a while, but I felt that it could have been slightly better.  There were so many interesting, potentially subversive ideas that it could have developed a bit more; so much scope, for example, for contemporary relevance and satire in the idea that we might be trapped in lousy movie wherein our destinies are presided over by technocrats and unempathetic office drones, and where a young generation has to sacrificed – but the movie didn’t really mine that satirical potential the way a young Romero would have.

    Nevertheless, it was mostly a real kick, very fresh and inventive and fun.  One other gripe, though, that I’ve heard a few other people raise – why a really generic Big Hand for the last shot?  If there was ever a time for Cthulhu to finally get his big cinematic closeup, surely it was there?  Relatively minor, but unfathomable, error of judgement on the filmmaker’s part.

    1. I agree wholeheartedly.

      I think Joss Whedon has his hand on the pulse of pop culture, and isn’t in it for scathing social commentary.  After all, he is a darling of current hip culture, I wouldn’t expect him to be cynical or jaded.  

      Wildly, fantastically entertaining film though.  I think it says more about me than it does the film that I would have liked the society of the film’s universe to be damned a little further.  Keep in mind, this was written and filmed long before Occupy Wall Street.

      1. I nearly wept at the cancellation of Firefly, which was fantastically entertaining and a society that I would have loved to have seen more of. 

    2.  The generic hand was deliberate. We are the Ancient God’s. That’s why they have to die for us, the Ancient Gods.

    3. I think that they went with a human (er, hominid?) hand at the end as an homage to the endings of Friday the 13th, Carrie, and whatever other horror movies employed or parodied that gimmick.

      Besides, Cthulhu isn’t even one of the world-eating, humanity-vanquishing elder gods, he’s merely the priest that they left behind here on earth in order to keep their memories alive.  If one of the true Great Old Ones had actually awoken and burst forth from under the cabin, it would have looked something like a shimmering plane of light, or a creeping cloud of darkness, and everyone watching in the theater would have been driven mad instantly.  No good.

  2. Cabin was a lot of fun but the end was less than what I was hoping for. I was sooooo hoping the the “monsters” would turn out to be the movie goers themselves. The monsters asking for the sacrifices every summer is us!

  3. Meh. Maybe I’m “old skool,” but this thing disappointed on various levels, although I will give it a tip of the hat to a somewhat decent “fresh” idea.

    From the linked article: “The Cabin in the Woods is self-referential in a way that pokes fun at itself for being a self-referential movie.” So…I’m supposed to admire that in and of itself? I’d rather save the money and just hold two hand mirrors facing each other really close and look inside – it makes about as much sense.

    “Cabin in the Woods got tons of laughs in the theater — because it was that surprising, over and over again.” No, because it was ridiculous, and I was nervously laughing at why I was fooled by the hype.

    “The corporation and the premise are positively sinister, riding on the fact that killing innocent people is just another day at the office.” Uh, you don’t KNOW what sinister can be. It was more like watching an episode of The Office – bumbling, dull, lethargic and sinking in its’ own self-referential cliches.

    “And it gets to such a fever pitch of suspense (example: the Hollywood Squares-inspired Wall of Nightmares) that you remember, “Oh, right! This has been a horror movie this whole time!” If only Paul Lynde had been in it, it may have kept me awake at that point. Hollywood Squares inspired?! More like inspired (ripped off) from the vastly more disturbing and truly sinister 1997 horror flick “CUBE,” which is the first thing that came to mind when I saw the “Wall of CGI.”

    “Sigourney Weaver.”  The best part. ’nuff said.

    Ending credits with the typical loud, obnoxious, unintelligible music geared towards 15 year old boys. And that’s a wrap.

    1. Perhaps you are trolling; it’s sad when a reader cannot tell the difference.

      Being self-referential or meta is not admirable on it’s own, but the fact that a highly entertaining movie also manages to wink at itself provides additional treats for the viewer to enjoy.  Allowing the viewer to solve little puzzles on their own just provide additional morsels of enjoyment; this is common to all art.  Consumers like to feel as if they are contributing something to the game, instead of just blindly consuming.

      Surprises cannot be ridiculous?  I don’t think you have a point in your third paragraph.

      In your fourth paragraph, you are just name-calling.  If you want an example of lack of substance, this paragraph is it.  

      Saying it is ripping off Cube is preposterous, the only valid comparison is the geometric relationship.  Seriously, can’t we just all agree that ALL art is derivative in some fashion?  Saying this is a rip-off of Cube is like saying that it ripped off The Jazz Singer for having sound, or Night of the Living Dead for including zombies.  The two movies couldn’t be farther apart, but it’s nice to see your high school geometry class wasn’t wasted in your recognition of similar forms.

      I don’t think you being “old school” is the problem, and I think calling you jaded or cynical would be taken as a compliment.  I just think you’re inherently not open to fun.  In a true gonzo-fashion, your review is as much a reflection of yourself as it is the movie.

      1. Yes, we can somewhat agree that “…ALL art is derivative in some fashion,” but that would hilariously pull this movie up from flick to “Art,” which is your call, apparently – not mine.

        Wow, I wouldn’t have even dreamed in a million years that someone would take my little opinions about a soon-to-be-forgotten horror flick so seriously as to bother replying to it. To state that I’m “inherently not open to fun” from a few scrawled paragraphs taking to task someone’s review of Stabbin’ Cabin is an amazing leap into a preposterous attempt to derive something of my overall psychological make up!
        I’ve seen a hell of a lot of horror movies in my time – in fact, next to Sci-Fi, this is my genre of choice when scoping out flicks, whatever the medium. This was a mix of both, so I was intrigued and looked forward to it. To me, it was interesting, but, also for me, it fell flat.

        I mainly had fun ripping into the linked review – it struck me silly in its breathlessness, I couldn’t help myself. It was the REVIEWER who stated the Wall of Nightmares had a “Hollywood Squares-inspired” look – for me, it reminded me of CUBE. So, yeah, that ol’ geometry class wasn’t wasted, apparently, on the reviewer either.

        I thought my reference to Paul Lynde was most telling as to my openness to fun!

        It’s just a movie. *sigh*

        1. Yeah, the movie is art.  A beautiful combination of Sci-Fi, horror, comedy, and suspense genres(I’m probably missing some genres) with a plethora of different movie plot derivations juxtaposed into probably the most unpredictable movie of all time. That is indeed art.

  4.  Am I the only one who saw a trailer that gave away what was going on? I seem to remember knowing some time ago that this was a “puppeteer” type of movie based on a trailer I saw. Did I just figure it out quickly or am I remembering correctly? Also, does anyone know why this sat on the shelf for 3 years?

    1.  no that was the first trailer. then they cut that out and tried to sell it as “yes another teen slasher movie” and that’s probably why it was at a box office level of the Three Stooges.

    2. ‘Also, does anyone know why this sat on the shelf for 3 years?’
      It was caught up in the bankruptcy of MGM.

  5. I saw it and while I thought it was worth the price of the ticket (barely), I feel it doesn’t deserve the raves it’s getting.  I’m very selective about the movies I bother to see in theaters and the rave reviews drew me to this one.  It wasn’t particularly clever nor satirically that funny.  I guess the raves are due to the comparison of this film with the steady stream of absolute garbage that passes for movies these days.  Monitor the reviews, both professional and viewer, at and you’ll see really low ratings for most stuff, then along comes one film that gets high ratings.  I’ve gone to the very highly rated ones and, in most every case, they’re unexceptional.  The lower rated stuff must _really_ be garbage then.

      1. I like all kinds of films and “things.”  It’s just that the vast majority of films released are garbage as confirmed by both professional and viewer reviews on  Excellence is rare and that applies to films, too.  And quite often, the highest rated films on RT are very limited release films and/or foreign films.

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