Happy 1st birthday, Cabin in the Woods!

 *The following contains Cabin in the Woods spoilers*

Drew Goddard's Cabin in the Woods came out exactly one year ago today. The deconstructive horror-comedy gave the genre a much-needed enema after a streak of half-assed sequels, unimaginative remakes, and lame paranormal movies. It was also a triumph for fans of original horror because the film had sat idle in movie purgatory for THREE years. Granted, it's more comedy than horror, but like all the best horror-comedies (Shaun of the Dead, Behind the Mask, etc.), it turns a hilarious mirror on the genre tropes.

In a plot device never before seen on film, Cabin provides a peek behind the curtain of the average slasher film by suggesting it is being manipulated by a secret organization. The classic horror archetypes - virgin, jock, etc. - are not born but created through chemical and environmental manipulation. The script, penned by Goddard and Joss Whedon, is incredibly unique and so damn funny. With brains, laughs, and a healthy dose of gore, Cabin is exactly what a horror-comedy should be. 

Cabin gave us horror fans multiple nerdgasms with all the Easter eggs. Those references make us feel like we belong to some exclusive club when we can nudge the person next to us and go, "Deadites! Hm? Hmmm?" And the film delighted us with its onslaught of carnage, especially that wildly thrilling climax when all the monsters are released! And although most of the gore FX are practical, the film reminded us that not all CG blood is bad.

Like any exciting new movie, Cabin's biggest obstacle was the hype. Virtually every person I know who saw it in theaters loved it. The earlier, the better. Part of that was the lack of spoilers flying around early on, but it was also the oncoming hype. By the time the film came out on DVD, all the people who waited out the hype wave finally watched the film and gave the inevitable two-word review: "It's overrated." My beef with that phrase is another rant for another day.... 

But one year later, the film is still holding strong today. I can tell because my Cabin in the Woods: References & Easter Eggs article is still among my top 3 visited articles and it has more comments than any other. This is a movie that excites genre fans and gets them talking! That is a rare, coveted quality in any film, especially horror.

Fede Alvarez' Evil Dead just came out last week and already it has drawn comparisons to Cabin, which is pretty ridiculous considering their only common denominator on-screen is a cabin, and both are inspired by Sam Raimi's The Evil Dead. But I do think it's a little harder for films like Evil Dead to exist in a post-Cabin in the Woods world now. The genre has been split open and exposed, and the bar set much higher. On the other hand, the success of Cabin allows more bold, bloody horror like Evil Dead to be made. 

 So happy 1st birthday, Cabin in the Woods! Time will certainly turn you into one of horror cinema's greatest classics!

Related Articles: 

My Spoiler-Free Review of Cabin in the Woods

Cabin in the Woods: References & Easter Eggs You Might Have Missed

Buy Cabin in the Woods on DVD: 

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