The Cabin In The Woods Ending Explained

The Cabin In The Woods is a 2012 Slasher Film with more than meets the eye. The film is directed by Drew Goddard, who has been the producer for movies like The Martian and Cloverfield. The Cabin In The Woods cast notably includes Kristen Connolly, Chris Hemsworth, Anna Hutchison, Fran Kranz, Jesse Williams, Richard Jenkins, and Bradley Whitford. We also see Sigourney Weaver in a cameo. The movie is a stereotypical slasher on purpose. Really, beyond that, I can’t say much without giving away the story. Here’s the plot and ending of the film Cabin In The Woods explained, spoiler ahead.

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Here are links to the key aspects of the movie:

What is The Cabin In The Woods About?

Here’s the basic premise. While the movie appears to be quite stereotypical, that’s precisely what it’s aiming to be. You know how all of those slasher films have a pattern, character types, and deaths? Well, Cabin In The Woods is a plot that is based in a universe where all horror films are real. Meaning, the likes of Freddy Kreuger, Jason, Saw, are all real. Now, given that context, Cabin In The Woods gives an explanation as to why all slasher events (with dying youngsters) happen in that particular pattern.

The Cabin In The Woods: Spoiler

The world was once ruled by super-sized gods who now live beneath the Earth’s surface. Over the generations, a designated committee has been keeping the Gods happy by offering human sacrifices. While initially, the sacrifices were rather simple, the Gods slowly started demanding some added drama for their personal entertainment. Deaths needed to come in a pattern and to certain character types. While one stereotype was necessitated in the USA, others were required in different parts of the world. In Japan, for instance, young school kids were to be offered, while in the USA, it needed to be a specific group.

The Cabin In The Woods: Sacrifice Rules

  • A sacrifice must be made once a year. So simultaneously, all across the world, committees execute their evil deed.
  • As long as one committee from the world can satisfy The Ancient Ones, the world would be safe.

Cabin in the Woods GroupRules for America

The Group that is to be sacrificed has to have the following character stereotypes:

  • The Athlete
  • The Virgin
  • The Scholar
  • The Wh*re
  • The Fool

The Wh*re needs to die first. And before she does, she needs to disrobe. Remember, this film is a satire of many slasher films out there, which features a hot girl who makes out with her boyfriend and is the first to die.

The Group needs to split up. Have you wondered why in all these slasher films, the Group always decides to split up and search for clues? Logic would demand that you stick together no matter what, right? Well, now you know why. It’s in the God’s rules.

The Virgin needs to suffer, but her death is optional. But if she does die, it should be at the end. Again, slasher films always have a character who’s made to appear visually unappealing – a geek, a dressed-down girl or guy. Sometimes the main actor is purposely made to look less attractive. That’s because this is the Virgin stereotype. This doesn’t necessarily have to be literal, but this person has slept around very sparingly.

And there you have it, these are the leading set of rules the Ancient Gods want in place for their entertainment in America.

cabin in the woods japanRules for Japan

It’s not stated very clearly, but it looks like the offering has to be school kids. Films like Battle Royal and As The Gods Will are examples of these stereotypes.

The Cabin In The Woods: Plot Summary

The film begins with the American Committee, which discusses that the rest of the world’s sacrifices have failed. Only Japan and America remain.

A group of friends are getting ready to head out to a remote cabin for the weekend. They have been hand-picked by the Committee off-screen. Jules is The Wh*re, Curt, Jules’ boyfriend, is The Athlete, Dana is The Virgin, Holden is The Scholar, and Marty is The Fool. It is mentioned later on, but these titles are only approximate, and the Ancient Gods don’t seem to care much as long as they get a good show. The Cabin has been rigged with everything from mind-control drugs, to traps, to death agents.

The Cabin In The Woods: Monsters

The various monsters in the film are not robots or illusions. They are real and are sourced and stored under the CabinCabin. Each year, the Group that is to be sacrificed is made to trigger the method of their deaths. In this case, Dana ends up reading an ancient diary that contains a spell in Latin. This triggers the zombies to rise. The American Committee, down below, have a running bet to see which monster will be unleashed. Quite sinister.

The-Cabin in the Woods Committee Bets

The Wh*re Dies First

To keep to the rules, the Committee release pheromones to ensure that Jules disrobes and attempts to have sex. The zombies attack and behead Jules.

The Group Splits Up

Curt gets back to the Cabin to warn the others, and they make the most sensible decision to stick together. But the mind-altering gas is released by the Committee, and Curt switches his suggestion for the gang to split up.

Marty Discovers The Mic

A point to note here is that the Committee has somehow missed drugging Marty’s pot. Because of this, he is immune to the mind-altering gasses. Marty stumbles upon a wire-tap and concludes that they are on a TV show. Right after, he’s dragged away by a dead dude. While this is only revealed in the end, Marty doesn’t die, he somehow overpowers the zombie and kills it.

The Collapsing Tunnel

Curt, Dana, and Holden try to escape through a tunnel, but the Committee blows it up. Curt offers to cross the ravine with his dirt bike, and as he does, he hits a force-field and falls to his death. Dana and Holden drive away in disbelief. Holden proposes trying to find another exit, but Dana begins to understand that their deaths are choreographed, and there is no escape. A zombie in the caravan stabs and kills Holden, and they crash into the lake. Dana swims to the surface.

Celebrations Are Of Order

Japan fails with their sacrifice as the Group of school kids are able to chant a prayer to turn the attacking ghost into a harmless little frog. It’s all left to America now. The Committee celebrates their victory, not knowing that Marty has survived. The Director calls to notify the team that the situation needs to be taken care of.

cabin in the woods marty livesMarty Returns

Marty shows up in time to save Dana from the attacking zombie. He takes her to a bunker, which leads to the layers below via a fancy elevator. The two of them enter and begin to descend. After a while, they move horizontally and witness the many monsters held in glass cages. On seeing this, Dana realizes that they chose the way of their deaths.

Unleashing The Monsters

On reaching below, the Committee plans to kill them both, starting with Marty, as that would be the right order according to the rules. But Marty and Dana release every single hideous monster into the facility, and we become witness to a massive blood bath. The two of them make their way down and reach a temple. Here they see the stereotypes that have died in their Group so far. The Director shows up in person to explain the situation.

The Cabin In The Woods: Ending Explained

cabin in the woods ending explainedThe Director explains that The Ancient Ones will not attack Earth if Marty dies. Dana holds the gun to Marty as she feels one death is better than the entire planet. Dana gets taken down by a werewolf, the Director gets thrown over by the zombie that followed the duo down. Marty shoots at the werewolf. In the end, Dana and Marty apologize to each other for trying to kill each other. With the last Committee failing, The Ancient Ones ascend to the surface to purge the planet of all life.

Let’s extend the discussion a little more to get a birds-eye view of what went down in the film. This Group was not random, and neither was their destination; that Cabin was an appointed destination. All we hear about the Cabin from the Group is that it belonged to a cousin. We don’t know who this cousin is or what part he played in convincing them to go there. The man at the gas station mentions that many have come to this Cabin in the past. So it appears that this Cabin is the stage. Every once in a while, a group of select people are coaxed into spending the weekend there. Various characters need to play their parts on this stage, which means they need to be assembled. Think about it, an entire staff of people aren’t going to eternally wait till an ideal group with the right mix of personas shows up. We already know that the tech team has access to gasses that can influence decisions. It’s not difficult to imagine that they influenced and made this weekend trip happen for the Group. The Gods want a show, and while not shown in the film, the tech folks make it happen. I’d reckon that they secretively meddled in the lives of these people to ensure that on that designated date, that designated Group landed up at the Cabin. The guy at the gas station calls her a wh*re, he already knows the structure of the Group. Yes, they approximated on the Virgin, in fact the tropes are only an approximation. But looks like the Gods are accommodating as long as they get a good show. In a nutshell what I’m trying to say is that the Group didn’t happen to be there by accident, it’s all an elaborate setup. Too bad it backfired.

While the film tends to be outrageous, slasher films over the years have sort of become predictable. I think The Cabin In The Woods took the opportunity to cash in on all that stereotyping to establish a “reason” for why slasher events are so pattered.