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’s The Movie 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 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.
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 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.
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.
Barry is a technologist who helps start-ups build successful products. His love for movies and production has led him to write his well-received film explanation and analysis articles to help everyone appreciate the films better. He’s regularly available for a chat conversation on his website and consults on storyboarding from time to time.
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