HTS Moderator , Reviewer
[img]http://www.hometheatershack.com/gallery/file.php?n=9346[/img]Title: Cabin In The Woods
Starring: Chris Hemsworth, Kristen Connolly, Anna Hutchison, Fran Kranz, Jesse Williams
Directed by: Joss Whedon
Written by: Joss Whedon, Drew Goddard
Runtime: 95 minutes
Blu-Ray Release Date: September 18th, 2012
HTS Overall Score:86
Let me start by saying that if you go into “Cabin in the Woods” expecting a traditional horror flick, you are going to be sorely disappointed. “Cabin” is not traditional, but rather a satire (in the truest sense of the word) of the horror genre as a whole. When people imagine satire, their first mental image is something goofy and spoof like, such as the Scary Movie films. Instead, think of what the original “Scream” movie did for the slasher genre. “Cabin in the Woods” mixes zany situations and every horror cliche in the book into a witch’s cauldron and spews out something completely different than anything seen before. I came out of the theater thinking to myself, “Man, that was a good movie”; after about an hour or so of mulling, I came to the conclusion that it wasn’t just a “great” movie, it was a fantastic movie, even flat out brilliant! Instead of becoming a parody or farce of the horror genre, Joss Whedon lovingly creates a film that truly mocks, dissects and honors the horror film genre in one stroke.
Now I’m going to have to keep the description of the film a little vague in parts, as describing a lot of the movie will expose major plot points. However, what I can tell you is that the film does not start with your typical introduction of victimized teenagers and a menacing figure out to wreak havoc upon their unsuspecting lives. Instead, we are introduced to two nerdy office geeks talking about baby proofing their house and discussing which department, of whatever mysterious corporation they work for, will “win” in this year. From there, it shoots us into the lives of five teens. First introduced are Dana (Connolly), the nerdy bookworm who’s just gotten over an affair with a college professor; Jules (Hutchison), her appealing friend; and Jules’s boyfriend Curt (Hemsworth), a handsome athlete. Deciding that it’s time for a getaway to their uncle’s cabin, the friends meet up with the last of five: Holden (Jesse Williams) the sweet gentleman who’s been setup with Dana; and Marty (Fran Kranz), the pot smoking hippy buddy. Looks like we have all the cliché’s present: the nerdy girl, the easy chick, the hunky jock, the stupid dope, and the sweet good ole boy.
With a fanfare of excitement, the group of friends travels to the cabin only to meet a mysterious old man warning them away in typical horror fashion. Nonplussed, the group arrives at the cabin and settles in and starts to nestle themselves into the roles for which they were built. Now we start to see from where the true terror comes: it appears that our nerdy office geeks have a vested interest in our heroes (or shall we say victims?) and will stop at nothing to see their mission fulfilled.
[img]http://www.hometheatershack.com/gallery/file.php?n=9348[/img]Now, without revealing anything else about the actual inner machinations of the film, you must understand that all that has happened up until this point has been an introduction, both to the characters and to the film itself. What happens next is Joss reveling in his little game of taking every horror cliché and cringe worthy moment relevant to EVERY horror movie ever created and completely turns them on their ears. I was honestly surprised at both the simultaneous subtlety and brazenness of the film. Veteran horror hounds will recognize ingenious references to other famous horror movies and television shows. Some are extremely inconspicuous, while others twisted just outside of recognition where you have to re-watch the film to catch them. At the same time, Joss blatantly walks up to the staple plot devices of a horror movie, slaps them in the faces, and then baits them with a piece of meat to come out and play again. All of this culminating with a half an hour finale that is both unexpected and absolutely amazing. One MUST, and I repeat MUST, recognize that “Cabin in the Woods” is NOT a true horror film. Anyone going in thinking they are going to be regaled with the classic cheese of a horror movie will need to adjust their glasses and go in with an open mind over what they are about to see.
Rated R for strong bloody horror violence and gore, language, drug use and some sexuality/nudity
[img]http://www.hometheatershack.com/gallery/file.php?n=9345[/img]The video for “Cabin” was excellent to say the least. The film was covered in a fine layer of grain that was exceptionally pleasing for something as gritty and horror grounded as “Cabin." The grain was nice and pronounced, but never intrusive or obstructing fine detail. The film’s color scheme was covered in a dark shroud of black and yellowish hues, but at the same time, primary colors shone through brightly. Curt’s red shirt was pronounced and bright, while the blues and greens of the murky forest shone through even all the darkness surrounding them. The contrast was turned down intentionally it seems. Both in the theater and in my own home theater, the picture was clean and sharp, but always very dark and inky, shadows blending the lines between character and background to the point where you had to strain to differentiate the two at times. Being intentional, it serves to create a more murky and creepy atmosphere, but at the same time it can be annoying struggling to see the fine shadow detail that’s being obscured. Facial detail, although dark at times, is excellent and every crease, crevice and curve of every character is there for all to see. I was surprised to see a film stay so dark, yet detailed at the same time in terms of its close-ups.
[img]http://www.hometheatershack.com/gallery/file.php?n=9344[/img]Audio-wise, we have yet another winner. Voices are centered in the center channel exactly as they should be. Dynamic range is good without being overly pronounced. The voices and sound effects blend nicely without the dialogue being too low and sound effects overpowering what the actors are saying. Channel separation is one of the best I’ve heard in a long time. Footsteps thump solidly from every direction, a whirling chain scythes through the air splitting from front to rears with exceptional clarity, and the drip drip of falling water in the forest is heard with pinpoint accuracy. Joss did an excellent job choosing a score that was unique, artful and creepy all at once. There is no generic 70’s sounding mono music to warn us that a bad guy is creeping up behind the unsuspecting teens, but rather the score floods its way into the audience, creating a mood of suspense and horror without coming right out and giving everything away, as can be so common. Finally, we get to the LFE. As I’m watching the movie I’m wondering, “Where is the bass? I remember the movie having a bit more 'punch' to it." While subtle and definitely present, it just didn’t seem to rock my socks off. However, once we get around the ½ way point with the “underground scenes” (you’ll KNOW what I’m talking about when you get to it) the bass goes off the charts. Soon LFE is being thrown around fast and furious, driving DEEP and LOW. Very rarely have I heard my THT subs actually strain trying to get that low, definitely low enough that the hairs on the back of my arm were vibrating from the air pressure. A great great soundtrack that is only marred , in my opinion, by the LACK of impressive bass for the first ½ of the movie.
• It's Not What You Think: The Cabin in the Woods Bonus View Mode
• Audio Commentary with Writer/Director Drew Goddard and Writer/Producer Joss Whedon
• We Are Not Who We Are: Making The Cabin in the Woods
• The Secret Secret Stash
• An Army of Nightmares: Makeup and Animatronic Effects
• Primal Terror: Visual Effects
• Wonder-Con Q&A
• Theatrical Trailer
I went into the film not knowing what to truly expect, except that it was a satire of a horror film, and I came out completely blown away. Some may say I’m over-reacting, but “Cabin” is completely different than any other horror film ever created and truly a work of art - very evident is the loving care with which cliché’s and homages to other horror films are woven meticulously to create something truly unique and beautiful. By far one of the best entries into the horror genre (even though it isn’t a pure horror film) and something that I truly will be revisiting multiple times, “Cabin in the woods” is praised by critics and fans alike. Combine that with excellent audio and video scores, I have to highly recommend this film for any horror hound as well as anyone just looking for something different in a played out and very tired genre.
Buy Cabin In The Woods on Blu-ray
Recommendation: Watch It!