The Cabin in the Woods (2011)
By: Devon B. on January 23, 2013 | Comments
Roadshow | Region 4, PAL | 2.35:1 (16:9 enhanced) | English DD 5.1 | 91 minutes (Full Specs)
The Movie
Cover Art
Director: Drew Goddard
Starring: Kristen Connolly, Chris Hemsworth, Anna Hutchison, Fran Kranz, Jesse Williams
Screenplay: Joss Whedon, Drew Goddard
Country: USA
External Links
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We're all jammed in the car, and we're going really far...

About a decade ago, I had two different groups of friends both conspire separately to turn me into a fan of Buffy the Vampire Slayer. I kept saying, "I saw the movie" and they kept saying that didn't count. I was hesitant because I was being told by both groups that season one sucked and season two wasn't that good, but in season three it took off. I didn't want to watch 40 episodes of crap to maybe get into a TV show I wasn't interested in in the first place, so my resistance held for a long time and I've ignored Joss Whedon ever since. Until he made The Avengers, that is. It's virtually impossible to get an accurate read on the quality of anything connected to Whedon because he has an army of nerds bombarding the media with praise for anything he does, but a lot of people seemed to like The Avengers. When I saw it, I thought for about 45 minutes that I'd been suckered again by Whedon's Warriors, but then the movie hit its stride and was excellent.

This made me slightly more receptive to Whedon, but I still had some trepidation about his journey into horror with The Cabin in the Woods, and I wasn't even sure if I'd be able to watch the movie for fear of disturbing the whole audience by humming "Cabin in the Woods" from Evil Dead: The Musical for the whole screening. This became a moot point when The Cabin in the Woods received a limited theatrical release so I never even got the opportunity to see it at the cinema. Thanks to the magic of home video, I have finally seen the movie and am glad I didn't see it at the theatre because I could not stop singing the song.

Cabin in the woods, oooh…

Reviewing The Cabin in the Woods has one tricky element, because everyone I spoke to about this movie said it was best not to know anything about it before seeing it. How do I describe a movie without revealing any information about it? I guess I would say that there is a bit of an escape clause with this movie, but nonetheless people whose opinions I respect say that potential viewers should go in unprepared, and so I offer this short review for those that don't want to know anything: Yes, you should watch it.

The reason I don't entirely agree that the viewer should go into this movie with as little information as possible is that it's clear from the very first scene that this is not a standard slice and dice. There is still a mystery as to what's going on, but I don't think it's a spoiler to say that things are not as they appear for our heroes.

A cabin in the woods, yeah…

The Cabin in the Woods starts with a secret agency scene, and as soon as our college kids are introduced it's immediately shown that there's a bit of a conspiracy afoot. The five friends travel to a cabin in the woods ( yeah ), and odd things start happening. Worse, they seem to find themselves turning into horror movie clichés, so when something arises in the woods around their cabin in the woods ( oooh ) they don't' have much chance of survival. Given one of the kids is Thor he probably should've just summoned lightning and saved them all.

As with The Avengers I spent a long time wondering what all the fuss was about with The Cabin in the Woods. I kept thinking that for all the shenanigans of the film, I preferred the much more simple Wrong Turn. The Cabin in the Woods had some amusing bits like riffs on other movies and lots of the hip dialogue that Whedon is known for, but the film spent a long time setting itself up and my attention went on walkabout. And then, as with The Avengers, The Cabin in the Woods kicked into gear and was off.

We're five college students on our way to an…

Maybe my expectations were too high, and maybe I couldn't hear enough of the film over my crooning, but The Cabin in the Woods' ambitions do pay off. The film will certainly get a rewatch soon so I can see how it builds now that I know what's coming, but even though I was a bit uninterested for the first half of my initial viewing, the impressive ending made all the convolutions worthwhile.

old abandoned cabin in the woods!
The Disc
This is a new movie so naturally the print is clear and clean. There was a bit of macroblocking, but otherwise the film looks good. A lot of the film takes place at night, and the transfer handles the blacks well. There were some moments where it became hard to see what was happening, but the crushing darkness all looked intentional to me.

The DVD has 5.1, 2.0 and audio descriptive tracks. The volume levels fluctuate a bit in one early scene, nearly causing some distortion, but it seems to have been a problem with that just that scene because I didn't notice the problem elsewhere. The 2.0 sounded fine when I sampled it, aside from that aforementioned scene, and the 5.1 made good use of the surrounds where appropriate and nicely immersed me in the chaos of the finale.

Once again Australia has been left wanting on the special features front, missing out on extras found in other countries. All we get is trailers for Piranha 3DD, Seeking a Friend and Lockout that play on start up and a making of. The making of runs nearly a half hour and delves into the writing phase and the filming. It shows that the film is a real passion project for Whedon and director/co-writer Drew Goddard, who wanted to make sure to capture as much as possible in his feature. It also shows that the reason Whedon commands an army of nerds is because he is clearly our king. The making of is good, but there was more that could've been included on this release.
The Verdict
Movie Score
Disc Score
Overall Score
The fact that The Cabin in the Woods is brimming with references to The Evil Dead did not help me keep a certain song out of my head, but in the end I thought it was closer to something like Waxwork. The Cabin in the Woods is fun, and while it hasn't made me want to watch 15 seasons of Buffy, it has made the idea seem less ridiculous. The transfer on this DVD is fine but because we've missed out on a stack of features, including a commentary, I'd have to say that once again, sadly, an import is in order. Blu-rayers that really want to buy local have the option of picking up JB Hi-Fi's limited edition Blu-ray version which apparently has the additional features that the distributor couldn't be fucked putting on this DVD.

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