When I first saw the trailer for The Cabin in the Woods, I didn’t really think much of it. It looked like another typical contemporary horror movie. But after reading several glowing reviews for it, I decided to check it out yesterday. While I wasn’t as surprised by the big twist as many reviewers indicated I would be, I nonetheless found this to be a very entertaining and thought provoking film.

Like most people who are talking about this movie, I don’t want to ruin it for folks by giving away too much. Instead, I thought I would simply provide a list of things  I found intriguing about this film. If any of this sounds interesting to you, you might also enjoy checking it out.

  • I do love how this movie plays with and critiques the horror movie genre, a genre that I have enjoyed since I was a kid. This isn’t a satire, like the Scream movies, as much as it is a postmodern critique that blurs the lines between what’s happening on the screen and what’s happening with the audience watching.
  • As someone raised on the “classics” of 80’s slasher films, I didn’t find this movie to be scary. Rather, at times it was intentionally comical as a parody of those films.
  • One of the main questions this film wrestles with is why we watch movies like this in the first place. What primal blood lust are we satiating through the catharsis of horror films?
  • Given my recent posts on atonement theology, and my longstanding suspicion of both substitutionary atonement theories and the myth of redemptive violence, this film was fascinating to watch just over a week after Easter.
  • This is yet another addition to the already rich canon of contemporary fiction that tackles the perennial question of how providence (or fate) is balanced with free will. Do we have free will or simply the illusion of free will? Are philosophies and theologies of providence (or fate) just as contrived as the plot of this film?
  • Though it is a relatively short movie, this film pushed a lot of the same buttons for me as the television show Lost, which is one of my all time favorite works of fiction.

This was well worth the price of a matinee ticket. It is entertaining as a meta-horror film and raises lots of fascinating questions that seem to persist as part of our cultural zeitgeist.

John W. Vest

John is a "church hacker" attempting to overcome the limitations of church as we know it. To connect with him and learn more about his work, please visit johnvest.com.

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