A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that The Cabin in the Woods is a very-self aware, sometimes tongue-in-cheek horror movie (like Scream or Tucker and Dale vs. Evil). It starts out as a typical "carload of teens goes to spend the weekend in the country" scary movie, but then it adds some sinister twists. Throughout the whole thing, you can expect tons of violence, gore, and blood, though it stops short of "torture porn" (a la the Saw and Hostel movies). Language is also very strong (including "f--k," "s--t," and more), as is sexuality -- there's one topless scene, plus heavy sexual banter and behavior. One teen is a regular pot smoker, and other teens -- as well as adults -- drink beer, tequila, and more. Writer Joss Whedon has legions of devoted fans, many of them teens, but The Cabin in the Woods is really too much for any but the most mature teens.
What's the story?
In THE CABIN IN TEH WOODS, agroup of college kids --including hunky Curt (Chris Hemsworth) -- piles into an RV and heads for a cabin in the woods for a fun, blow-out weekend of swimming, sex, drinking, and smoking pot. At the same time, a couple of scientist/engineer types (Richard Jenkins and Bradley Whitford) check into a control room and start monitoring the teens. After a while, the teens stumble upon a cellar full of strange objects. The virginal Dana (Kristen Connolly) begins reading from an old diary and apparently awakens a family of zombies. The teens begin to realize that something is amiss, but can they withstand the homicidal zombies long enough to find out?
Is it any good?
Veteran writer Joss Whedon and first-time director Drew Goddard deconstruct the horror genre like never before with this film. Their effort isn't unlike Scream or Tucker and Dale vs. Evil, but it's a great deal more spectacular. It begins very similarly to movies like The Evil Dead, Creature, and Shark Night, but before it grows stale, The Cabin in the Woods starts dropping hints that it's no ordinary horror movie. It keeps the mystery up until the final blow-out reel, where it probably gives away a bit too much. But by that time, it has wildly succeeded.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about what point The Cabin in the Woods is making. Is the message purely cynical and sinister, or does it have anything positive to say? Does it help to have seen a lot of horror movies in order to "get" this one?
Could the movie succeed without its extreme violence?
Are any of these characters admirable in any way? Why or why not?
- In theaters: April 13, 2012
- On DVD or streaming: September 18, 2012
- Cast: Bradley Whitford, Chris Hemsworth, Richard Jenkins
- Director: Drew Goddard
- Studio: Lionsgate
- Genre: Horror
- Topics: Monsters, Ghosts, and Vampires
- Run time: 95 minutes
- MPAA rating: R
- MPAA explanation: strong bloody horror violence and gore, language, drug use and some sexuality/nudity
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Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.