BLU-RAY REVIEW: The Cabin in the Woods
Joss Whedon and Drew Goddard's Horror Comedy Hits Home Video...
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If you’re a fan of horror movies and you’ve yet to see The Cabin in the Woods, you’re cheating yourself of one of the best movie experiences in years. Brilliantly co-written by Joss Whedon (The Avengers) and Drew Goddard (Cloverfield), who also directs the film, The Cabin in the Woods is an amazing look into the frightening and comical side of the horror genre and gives an entertaining explanation as to why horror films are the way they are. Confused? Don't worry...it all makes sense once you watch the film.
When a group of college students head to an isolated countryside cabin for a weekend of drugs, beer, and inappropriate behavior, they soon learn all isn’t what it appears to be. Each character fills the stereotypical role seen in horror movies for the last 40 years. Featuring Kristen Connolly as the innocent Dana, Chris Hemsworth as the athletic Curt, Anna Hutchison as the sexy Jules, Fran Kranz as the pot-smoking Marty, and Jesse Williams as the book smart Holden, The Cabin in the Woods tells an intriguing tale of how these five college students are being manipulated by powers far greater than they could ever imagine for a dark and deadly purpose.
It’s somewhat difficult to describe The Cabin in the Woods without giving away any of film's brilliant plot twists but one thing is worth noting: The Cabin in the Woods includes all of the fan-favorite clichés…with a number of odd twists weaved in revealing why these cliches are not only important, but necessary. This makes the film both remarkably familiar and wholly unique, keeping your attention throughout. There's no doubt you'll be kept guessing as to what’s truly going on, all the while engaged and entertained.
To complement the ongoing main plot of the student's weekend of debauchery and mayhem, a sub-plot featuring Richard Jenkins and Bradley Whitford as Richard Sitterson and Steve Hadley (respectively) simply makes the film hilarious and laugh out loud funny. This pair truly make the movie worth watching as it’s their witty dialogue, hilarious interaction, and smug reactions to other character's quips which makes The Cabin in the Woods special. While it’s impossible to describe what part they play without giving away spoilers to the film, it’s Jenkins and Whitford who along with actress Amy Ackers make The Cabin in the Woods witty, fun, and original.
The blu-ray disc features a gorgeous 1080p hi-def video in the film’s original 2.40:1 aspect ratio. The movie's darks are impressive as they're deep, dangerous, and unpredictable, making The Cabin in the Woods all the more exciting and frightening. Likewise, the film’s colors are bright and clear, though often sometimes soft. Likewise, the DTS-HD Master Audio 7.1 track features an impressive blend of dialogue and sound effects. This includes clearly audible background noise like birds, motors, engines, gunfire, and monstrous hissing, screeches, and screams. The dynamics are full force throughout, making it sometimes a bit difficult to clearly distinguish dialogue, but this is rarely an issue and hardly worth mentioning.
As for special features, the film includes a good assortment that’ll have fans of the film excited to delve deeper into the mystery that is The Cabin in the Woods. Bonus material includes audio commentary with writer/director Drew Goddard and writer/producer Joss Whedon which is entertaining, informative, and fun; the “It's Not What You Think: The Cabin in the Woods Bonus View Mode,” which is a solid Picture-in-Picture featuring cast and crew discussing the film; the nearly 30-minute long “We Are Not Who We Are: Making The Cabin in the Woods,” which features both Whedon and Goddard discussing their writing the film as well as some interesting behind-the-scenes footage. Other bonus material includes the 13-minute long “The Secret Secret Stash,” which is really two short featurettes, "Marty's Stash" and "My Name is Joss and I'll Be Your Guide.” Both of these discuss the props and design of the film and make for some fun yet forgettable information. The 12-minute “An Army of Nightmares: Makeup and Animatronic Effects” takes a look at the film’s special effects and creature designs while the the 12-minute “Primal Terror: Visual Effects” focuses on the practical and CGI effects used in making the film. The film also includes a nearly 30-minute Wonder-Con Q&A with both Whedon and Goddard that’s both entertaining and fun. Lastly, the movie’s trailer is also included.
The Cabin in the Woods is everything a good horror comedy film should be: it’s scary, it’s exciting, it’s funny, it’s witty, it’s got plenty of creatures, monsters, and murderers...not to mention a great cast and crew. Whedon and Goddard do a brilliant job of bringing to life a tale we've seen before in a completely new and unique way (with a number of brilliant twists) and engaging and interesting characters (especially Richard Jenkins and Bradley Whitford's Sitterson and Hadley).
While it may sound odd, I’m proud to say The Cabin in the Woods is one of my favorite films of 2012. It's impossible not to be entertained and enjoy the movie, which will require a re-watch to simply pick up on all of the subtle hints as to the major plot twists.
The Cabin in the Woods is rated R for strong bloody horror violence and gore, language, drug use and some sexuality/nudity and is available on blu-ray and DVD wherever fine home video is sold.
- Jess C. Horsley
"Until next time...have FUN with your figures!!"
Jess C. Horsley