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The Cabin in the Woods (a J!-ENT Blu-ray Disc Review)

September 15, 2012 by  



“The Cabin in the Woods” is easily one of the best movies I have seen all year, and is one of the best movies I have ever seen.  Be prepared for and awesome thrill ride full of horror, comedy, wit, and well… some gore.  This Blu-ray release is highly recommended!

Images courtesy of © 2012 Emperor Motion Picture Limited. All Rights Reserved.

TITLE: The Cabin in the Woods

TELEFILM RELEASE: 2011

DURATION: 95 Minutes

BLU-RAY DISC INFORMATION: 1080p High Definition, 2:40: 1 Widescreen Presentation, English 7.1 DTS-HD Master Audio, SUBTITLES: English and Spanish Subtitles, English SDH

COMPANY: Lionsgate Entertainment

RATED: R (Strong Bloody Horror Violence and Gore, Language, Drug Use and Some Sexuality Nudity)

Release Date: September 18, 2012

Directed by Drew Goddard

Written by Joss Whedon, Drew Goddard

Produced by Joss Whedon

Executive Producer: Jason Clark

Consulting Producer: Lucas D. Hill

Music by David Julyan

Cinematography by Peter Deming

Edited by Lisa Lassek

Casting by Heike Brandstatter, Anya Colloff, Coreen Mayrs, Army Mcintyre Britt

Production Design by Martin Whist

Art Direction by Michael Diner, Kendelle Elliott, Tom Reta

Set Decoration by Hamish Purdy

Costume Design by Shawna Trpcic

Starring:

Kristen Connolly as Dana

Chris Hemsworth as Curt

Anna Hutchison as Jules

Fran Kranz as Marty

Jesse Williams as Holden

Richard Jenkins as Sitterson

Bradley Whitford as Hadley

A rambunctious group of five college friends steal away for a weekend of debauchery in an isolated country cabin, only to be attacked by horrific supernatural creatures in a night of endless terror and bloodshed.  Sound familiar?  Just wait. As the teens begin to exhibit standard horror movie behavior, a group of technicians in a control room are scrutinizing, and sometimes even controlling, every move the terrified kids make.  With their efforts continually thwarted by the all-powerful eye in the sky, do they have any chance of escape?

Five college friends (The jock, the pretty girl, the brain, the stoner, and the nice girl) decide to go up to a cabin in the woods for a couple of days.  On their way there, they stop at some shady looking gas station trying to get some gas.  There, they are greeted by a creepy old man that owns the place, but decide to ask for directions to the cabin.  Instead, the creepy old man tells them they are doomed if they go there… but they decide to head up there anyways.  Once they get to the cabin, they find out it’s as creepy as the old man but they decide to stay there anyways.  Of course, once they’re there, all sorts of strange things start to happen.  Not using their better judgment, they go down into the obviously haunted cellar and make one bad choice after another, causing them to have their lives threatened by the hands of supernatural forces.

Does this all sound familiar?  It should.  But at the same time, it’s nothing like what you think it’s going to be…

“The Cabin in the Woods” takes on the appearance of just another gory slasher flick, but in the end is much, much more.

VIDEO:

“The Cabin in the Woods” is presented in 1080p High Definition (2:40:1 aspect ratio).  The picture quality was great.  Though much of the movie is quite dark and murky, it’s only to add to the scary atmosphere in this movie.  From beautiful, detailed shots in the dark forest, to the fine details in the textures of wood and stone, the video is crisp.  The contrast of light and dark in this movie is also very important and the Blu-Ray shows this beautifully.  Cinematographer Peter Deming did a beautiful job with the lighting, color contrast, and every shot enhanced the emotions that were present at each point in the movie.

AUDIO & SUBTITLES:

“The Cabin in the Woods” is presented in English 7.1 DTS HD-Master Audio.  Since this is a horror movie, the sudden boost in volume should be present, and it is.  The dialogue audio is very clear throughout, even later on when there is chaos and everything else is extremely loud so the mixing is great.  The loud sound effects add to the scene and doesn’t get in the way of dialogue.  Original music by David Julyan masterfully added to the feel of the whole movie.

Subtitles are in English, English SDH and Spanish.

SPECIAL FEATURES

“The Cabin in the Woods” comes with the following special features:

  • It’s Not What You Think: The Cabin in the Woods Bonus View Mode – (1:35:02) Watch the movie again with pop-up behind the scenes footage and interviews that are completely different from the other features listed below.
  • Audio Commentary – (1:35:02) Featuring audio commentary by Writer/Director Drew Goddard and Writer/Producer Joss Whedon.
  • We are Not Who We Are: Making “The Cabin in the Woods” – (28:33) A behind the scenes look at the making of “The Cabin in the Woods”.
  • The Secret Secret Stash: “Marty’s Stash”, “Hi, My Name is Joss and I’ll Be Your Guide” – (13:07) Marty (Fran Kranz) shows you the various… well, unique props he uses in the film and Joss gives you a tour of the cabin.
  • An Army of Nightmares: Makeup & Animatronic Effects – (12:10) This feature talks about all of the creature designing aspects of the film and the wide use of makeup, prosthetics, and animatronic effects used in this film.
  • Primal Terror:  Visual Effects – (12:07) This feature talks about the CG and other visual effects used in the film.
  • Wondercon Q&A – (27:30) Drew Goddard and Joss Whedon sit down after a screening of the film to answer questions about the film.
  • Theatrical Trailer – (2:27) Theatrical Trailer.
  • Also From LIONSGATE – (10:10) Other movies from LIONSGATE.

EXTRAS:

“The Cabin in the Woods” comes with a lenticular slipcover case.  Included is a digital copy and also UltraViolet, which allows you to watch the film on a TV, computer, tablet or smartphone.

You think you know what’s going on, but you actually have no idea what’s about to happen.  And that is exactly how you should view this film.  Go into it thinking it’s just another stereotypical horror movie, but with some twist because Joss Whedon is involved with it.  That’s exactly what it is; only so much more.  You may think you have it figured out, but in truth, you probably don’t.  “The Cabin in the Woods” is easily one of the best movies I have seen all year, and is one of the best movies I have ever seen.  Be prepared for and awesome thrill ride full of horror, comedy, wit, and well… some gore.

Once the movie starts, some may wonder if they are watching the right movie, because the first two characters who appear in the movie don’t seem to have anything to do with a horror movie at all.  The biggest problem with reviewing this movie, as much as I enjoyed it, is how much I can’t really say about this movie.  I watched this movie only knowing that it was a horror movie produced and co-written by Joss Whedon, and that I shouldn’t look into it anymore before I watched it.  I took that advice and enjoyed the movie thoroughly when I actually saw it.  Even the trailer to the movie gives you an idea that this isn’t a normal horror movie, but not much else.  So, without giving away too much, the following is what I can say about this wonderful film.

Joss Whedon is having an extremely successful year with the release of “The Avengers” as well as “The Cabin in the Woods”.   Whedon co-wrote this masterpiece with first-time director, Drew Goddard.  They had worked together previously on two of Whedon’s prior series, “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” and “Angel”, which is where they decided that they would like to write a movie together one day.

This film has an amazing crew and cast.  Drew Goddard as a first-time director did an absolutely fantastic job.  After watching this film, there was really no indication that this was the work of a first-time director.  As I mentioned, Joss Whedon is the co-writer and producer of this film.  He really doesn’t need much of an introduction, being the creator of various popular shows such as “Buffy the Vampire Slayer”, “Angel”, “Firefly”, and most recently, the director of “The Avengers”.  Drew Goddard has worked as a writer for such hit shows and movies like “Buffy the Vampire Slayer”, “Angel”, “Alias”, “Cloverfield”, and “Lost”.  In the making of feature, they talk about how they came up with the story and their enthusiasm for this project was wonderful to see.  A signature found in many Joss Whedon projects is all the fast, witty dialogue and this movie once again doesn’t disappoint.

The cast was phenomenal as well.  Each character was perfectly cast.  Before I talk about the five college students, two of the best actors in the whole movie would have to be Richard Jenkins, who played Sitterson and Bradley Whitford, who played Hadley.  They play the mysterious technicians that are toying with the lives of the kids.  Along with the five college students, they are the main characters of this film.  The banter between the two is another highlight of the film and they both did an amazing job of playing these roles.  The five college students are Dana (Kristen Connolly), Curt (Chris Hemsworth), Jules (Anna Hutchison), Marty (Fran Kranz), and Holden (Jesse Williams).  Each one of these actors did a phenomenal job playing their parts and they worked great together.  They each had to cut back and forth from silly scenes to very serious scenes quite often and they did a fantastic job.

Out of the five students though, my favorite, hands down, was Marty (Fran Kranz).  Chris Hemsworth is my favorite actor in this movie, but Fran Kranz as Marty stole the show.  Marty is the stoner character of the movie, and they’re usually not my favorite, but Marty is brilliant.  I believe he is another reason this movie is so fantastic.  He also has the best prop in the whole movie.  Joss Whedon is known for using actors that have been in his past projects in other projects and this movie was no different.  Fran Kranz (Marty) was in “Dollhouse” and Amy Acker (Wendy) was in “Angel”.  Chris Hemsworth (Curt) ended up being in “The Avengers”, but that apparently was a happy coincidence because he got the role of Thor for the movie “Thor” while they were shooting “The Cabin in the Woods”.

This movie is for horror movie fans and for those that don’t enjoy horror movies.  The movie has the stereotypical slasher film feel but then also a clever twist that both horror movie fans as well as those who are not fans will enjoy.  I’d say that the gore and violence is about the standard as any other horror movie.  I think many people will also enjoy all of the creatures that eventually make an appearance in the movie in one way or another.  They cover a lot of creature mythology from various sources and countries so it was fun to see them come to life.  In an industry that relies quite a bit on CG nowadays, it’s nice to know this film actually used lots of makeup, prosthetics, and animatronics where they could instead of relying mostly on CG.

The amount of special features on this Blu-Ray release is absolutely fantastic!  There is a commentary with Goddard and Whedon, three featurettes covering the making of the film (one standard behind the scenes, and two dealing with make-up and special effects), a Q&A with Goddard and Whedon from WONDER CON and much more.  This is very important: do not watch the special features on this disc until you have seen the movie.  Each special feature on this disc is full of spoilers.  They are all very fun to watch, but they should be enjoyed after seeing the movie.  Seeing how a movie was made is always one of my favorite parts of watching any movie, so the fact that there were so many things to watch made me very happy.

I personally don’t really have anything negative to say about this movie.  I thought it was clever, funny, and overall an awesome surprise of a movie.  However, if you are not a fan of Whedon’s prior works, you may not like this film either.  If you want to watch a straight up horror movie without any comedy, this may not be your pick either.  If you are disturbed by horror movies, vulgar language, violence, blood and gore in general, then sadly you may not be able to watch this movie.  I personally don’t have an issue with any of those.  Even if the whole idea of a horror movie makes this less appealing, I would encourage viewers to give this movie a chance.  I believe they may be pleasantly surprised.

If you are a fan of horror movies, witty comedies, or movies with a clever twist (or a combination of the above), please check this movie out.  Thank you, Mr. Goddard and Mr. Whedon, for finally making a horror movie I actually enjoyed, and giving me another movie to add to my top ten favorite films of all time.

 

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