The Cabin in the Woods



Clever but very bloody deconstruction of horror movies.
Popular with kids
  • Review Date: April 13, 2012
  • Rated: R
  • Genre: Horror
  • Release Year: 2012
  • Running Time: 95 minutes

What parents need to know

Positive messages

The Cabin in the Woods takes a very sinister, cynical view of humanity in general; the best it has to say about people that is that we have a strong will to live.

Positive role models

None of the main characters can really be considered a role model. One minor character -- a security guard -- questions what's going on, frowns upon it, and refuses to participate. Unfortunately, he doesn't affect the outcome at all.


The Cabin in the Woods starts out like a "normal" horror movie, with zombie attacks, blood, and gore. There's stabbing, sawing, and a kind of "steel jaws"/bear trap weapon on a chain. Viewers see severed heads, spraying blood, throat-stabbing, motorcycle crashing, and falling from heights. There's also gory painting, and terrifying imagery is read aloud from a diary. Then things get even more intense, with dozens of new monsters and dozens of quick images of various attacks -- i.e. suicide, guns and shooting, monsters eating people, and gallons of blood. It stops short of torture, however, and the violence is all intentionally over-the-top.


A teen girl is seen topless and engaging in foreplay with her boyfriend (they're interrupted). Another couple is seen kissing. A teen girl is seen in her panties, and men's naked torsos are shown. Another teen girl pretends to make out with a stuffed wolf during a game of "truth or dare." Heavy sexual innuendo and banter throughout.


Language is very strong, but not constant. It includes many uses of "f--k," "s--t," "goddamn," "damn," "puss out," "boobies," "ass," "hell," "damn," "goddamn," and "oh my God."

Not applicable
Drinking, drugs, & smoking

One of the teens is a heavy, constant pot smoker -- he even has a special bong that collapses to look like a steel coffee mug. Other teens are seen drinking beer. Grown-ups drink beer, tequila, and other alcoholic beverages at a party.

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?

A group 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?


In THE CABIN IN THE WOODS, veteran writer Joss Whedon and first-time director Drew Goddard deconstruct the horror genre like never before. 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.

Goddard gets fun performances from the cast, especially Jenkins and Whitford, who chat playfully without disclosing too much vital information. The Cabin in the Woods also makes the most of its cross between horror and humor, between the dark, dank cabin and the white, clinical control room. Where the movie arguably falls short is in its scare factor; it's not particularly frightening, though it is very clever and very entertaining.

Families can talk 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?

  • Is The Cabin in the Woods scary? Does it succeed as a horror movie, as well as a commentary on other horror movies?

  • Are any of these characters admirable in any way? Why or why not?

Movie details

Theatrical release date:April 13, 2012
DVD release date:September 18, 2012
Cast:Bradley Whitford, Chris Hemsworth, Richard Jenkins
Director:Drew Goddard
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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  • Very Good: Engaging; good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging; good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging; OK learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

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What parents and kids say

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Teen, 13 years old Written bycerealkiller189 April 13, 2012

Could have had the potential to be a lot scarier.......

Saw this yesterday on opening weekend.And I've got to say this pretty much killed my thinking of Lionsgate.First,it starts off slow,like a normal horror movie setup,then halfway in,it tries to be Friday the 13th,and when that dosent work it tries a few torture porn methods in the style of Saw movies then tries to be Laid To rest and finally ends in an Evil Dead conclusion.Theres a lot of graphic bloody violence but it's meant to be gratuitous and cheesy so it won't scare many viewers.I think next time,I'd be better off staying home and watching Evil Dead back to back.
What other families should know
Too much violence
Too much sex
Too much swearing
Teen, 16 years old Written byRobbyboyfye16 April 21, 2012


Bloody but Really good and clever movie mixes non-stop blood and Some likable charecters.
What other families should know
Too much violence
Too much sex
Too much swearing
Too much drinking/drugs/smoking
Teen, 15 years old Written byantoineisthebest April 21, 2012

awesome movie

first of all great movie!!!!!!!!!!!!! it's better than insidious,friday the 13 like the best horror movie out there. the sexe is not that bad we do see some boobs but like for 5 sec. it's not really scary but I have to warn you of the blood and gore the first half goes easy on the gore and blood althought we do see some blood a character is beheaded but the actually ending last 15 minute are really gory( not really gory but alllloooooooooooooootttttttttttttt of blood). the movie is better than ur regular teen going in the wood type of movie there's is more things like that but I am not giving u away anything. I don't like the part that 1 of the guy who smoke weed that makes him special, so I won't recommend kid under 14/15 to go see it becuz it might encorage younger people to do drugs. for once I believe that mpaa made the right rating because the blood and gore are way too much for the typicall pre-teen/young teen. and the drug abuse and what they say about it could make a better choice for 14-17 between
What other families should know
Too much violence
Too much drinking/drugs/smoking


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