Drew Goddard’s highly anticipated horror film The Cabin in the Woods goes into wide release this weekend, and everyone should make a point to see it. Forget The Hunger Games; this is the cinematic experience of the spring that should drive people to the theaters.
By now, you’ve read a lot – possibly too much – about The Cabin in the Woods, and everyone from the director and studio to fans on Twitter are complaining about spoilers flying through the interwebs. In the interest of keeping secrets secret, here are seven spoiler-free reasons to see The Cabin in the Woods this weekend.
1. It’s Not Just a Unique Horror Film; It’s a Unique Film
Every few years, a new trend comes along for horror movies. As far back as the 1940s, it was the Universal monster movies. In the 50s, it was alien invasions and creatures mutated from atomic testing. In the 80s, it was the teen slasher film. A few years back, it was torture porn. Now, it’s found footage. The great thing about The Cabin in the Woods is that the film is none of these things. Yet, it is also a nod to many elements in the horror genre. There’s no dirty-basement torture sequence, and the film isn’t shot by some drunken partygoer. Cabin takes a stab at the genre and cuts close to the bone, but it does so in a very unique and compelling way. And beyond the horror genre itself, it’s a unique take on film in general. There’s nothing quite like it out there in any genre.
2. It’s More Than You Think It Is
The biggest problem with marketing The Cabin in the Woods is to let people know that it’s not just another cabin in the woods movie. Horror fans will notice the Evil Dead look of the cabin, and they’ll immediately see it as an homage, but there’s so much more there. Even though the trailer – and even the poster to a certain degree – dips its toes into spoiler territory, the entirety of the film is relatively fresh taking those marketing elements in mind. Little more can be said about anything that happens in the film, but rest assured there’s more going on than just some horny college kids getting attacked in a cabin in the woods.
3. It’s a Theatrical Experience
Part of the fun of The Cabin in the Woods is that it’s a crowd-participation film. Sure, you don’t want people talking and texting in the film. However, like a good comedy, it has some great laugh-out-loud moments that are more impactful in a theater of people laughing out loud. Similarly, like the horror classic Dead Alive or Evil Dead 2, there’s a visceral joy in watching things unfold with an entire theater screaming, shrieking and gasping around you. Nothing quite matches the energy of watching a film like this with 300 of your closest friends.
4. The Cast Is Awesome
Fans of Joss Whedon will recognize some of the actors from his previous works, including Amy Acker and Fran Kranz. While the main cast has newer actors in it, they all work in their respective roles. If you’re jonesing to see Chris Hemsworth before Avengers comes out, you’ve got that here. If you’re looking for respectable older actors like Richard Jenkins and Bradley Whitford, they’re here as well. Plus, there are a few surprises in the ranks as well. Not everyone in this film is going to win an Oscar in their career, but this comes off as one of the best cast films in recent years.
5. There Are Plenty of R-Rated Elements
With the MPAA under question for various films over the years, and with studios aiming to crank out PG-13 movies in the interest of maximizing profits, it’s great to see a film that doesn’t shy away from the elements that make horror movies great. Still, with the nudity, blood, gore and mayhem that is seen in The Cabin in the Woods, it’s not done for simple shock effect. Even when aiming for an emotional or carnal reaction, the R-rated elements are relevant to the overall film. (According to the MPAA, The Cabin in the Woods is rated R for strong bloody horror violence and gore, language, drug use and some sexuality/nudity.)
6. If This Makes Money, More Films Like This Will Be Made
Hollywood is an odd duck. On one hand, it champions itself as a bastion of creativity and originality. On the other hand, it won’t put any money into something unless it’s been done before and profited handsomely. Wouldn’t it be great if audiences would send the message to Hollywood that they want unique and original ideas on screens rather than cookie-cutter knock-offs, remakes, reboots and adaptations? The best way to ensure this is to see The Cabin in the Woods in the theaters on opening weekend. Do we want every film made to be just like The Cabin in the Woods? Of course not. But it’d be nice if we got at least a few more like it before Hollywood abandons the idea.
7. You Don’t Want it Spoiled
By now, you’ve heard that there are spoilers all over the internet about this film, from The Hollywood Reporter’s inconsiderate SXSW review to Rex Reed’s wildly inaccurate fever dream that manages to give everything away until the bitter end. Genre fans are going to latch onto this film quickly, just as members of advanced audiences have. However, the people who don’t particularly like the film are prepped to rant about plot elements and such. More over, if Cabin is a big hit, it’ll become the punch line of comments and jokes. Just as today it’s nearly impossible to not know the ending of Psycho or The Sixth Sense, if Cabin makes its way fully into the mainstream consciousness, the spoiler-free experience will soon be gone.