I watched “Cabin in the Woods” last night for the first time and found it to be a terrific movie. If you haven’t seen it, I highly recommend it.
The acting is good as is the cinematography, and the action is almost non-stop with wonderfully executed surprises and a reasonable amount of gore that isn’t overdone (as in the recent “Evil Dead” remake).
But what truly fascinated me is the way the director and screenwriter (whose names I unfortunately don’t recall) masterfully intertwined at least three of the most popular horror themes into an incredibly imaginative plot.
The first is that of five teenagers undergoing a variety of horrors and torments at a secluded cabin in the woods much as in the aforementioned “Evil Dead”. By the way, the cabin in “Cabin in the Woods” looks a lot like the cabin in the original “Evil Dead” so I have to wonder if they used the same set or simply copied it as a sort of cinematic nod to the horror subgenre of teens in an isolated cabin.
The second theme I think is more commonly seen in science fiction than horror, but it occurs there too: a covert society of “puppeteers” watches and controls society. In this case, they are controlling what happens to the teenagers in the cabin for the purpose of sacrificing them to an oligarchy of ancient, evil gods who live below ground.
The oligarchy of ancient, evil gods is the third theme and its best-known incarnation in the horror genre is as the Cthulhu mythos of H.P. Lovecraft, though there have been others, most often derived from Lovecraft’s works, though a few pre-date H.P.
By all means, take the time to view “Cabin in the Woods” for the sheer delight of watching it, if for nothing else. But if you have a serious interest in the horror genre, be prepared to be swept up in some fascinating analysis. A lot goes on in this film and anyone well-read in horror will probably be able to spot tons of subtleties that escaped my novice’s eye.