The Cabin in the Woods 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray Review
Rarely does a film have so much insight, creativity and originality that it reinvents how we look at movies. THE CABIN IN THE WOODS takes the horror genre and spins it on its head. Forever providing a completely different outlook whenever watching any monster/slasher/scary film, THE CABIN IN THE WOODS is a brilliant new take on a tired genre that has been spitting out regurgitated predictability for years now.
What is so awesome about the film, is it takes all those typical formulas we know about horror films and applies them once again in clever fresh explanation. There is no big twist but rather a subtle unraveling of the meaning behind what the audience is seeing on screen. Therefore, it is important still to withhold some of the more exciting details. Have you ever wondered why the group always splits up rather than stays together or why there is always a creepy guy at the end of town with some sort of cryptic warning? Every question is answered like a satisfying scratch to an irritating itch.
The basic story follows a very familiar formula of five college students heading out to “a cabin in the woods” – The jock, (Chris Hemsworth, pre THOR), the party girl (Anna Hutchison), the new guy (Jesse Williams), the pothead (Fran Kranz) and the innocent good girl (Kristen Connolly). After unleashing an evil zombie family, their only hope to survive the terror from the murderous walking dead is to find out who and what is behind it. On the surface, THE CABIN IN THE WOODS is like nearly every other horror film ever created, however with much better production, writing, acting and art design. But this is the entire point of the film, to explore every stereotype about characters and formulas in horror films.
In a very untypical opening to a horror film, THE CABIN IN THE WOODS opens with a couple of older gentlemen played by Richard Jenkins and Bradley Whitford. Dressed in white short sleeve button ups, black tie and ID badge clipped to their shirt pocket, they are about as stereotypical bland and dorky looking as you can get in what appears to be a humdrum corporate job. What they actually do is anything but. Without giving too much away, their part is not some twist surprise to the film, but rather a gradual reveal of surprises for just what kind of impact they have on the action and why everything is the way it is. Was that too vague? Think: THE TRUMAN SHOW as a horror film.
The film is surprisingly funny, maximizing on story rather than horror. But don’t fret monster fans, as the third and final act will satisfy all the gruesome gore and devilish beings one could handle. What is even more awesome, is director Drew Goddard and producer Joss Whedon are able to accomplish such a spectacular final act without sacrificing an ounce of quality in their brilliantly written story. In fact, it enhances the entire structure and purpose of the film.
I can’t say enough about THE CABIN IN THE WOODS and get giddy when thinking about it again. The focus on plot details and character will give a whole new enjoyment for multiple viewings. With such a fresh, creative look at a genre, I don’t see how anyone can ever watch any horror film again without thinking about the behind the scenes THE CABIN IN THE WOODS has so cleverly provided.
4K ULTRA HD BLU-RAY REVIEW
Video: I haven’t been too impressed with some of Lionsgate’s catalog 4K releases and so I shrugged when CABIN IN THE WOODS came across my desk. But to my surprise, the disc included Dolby Vision, which really took me by surprise. My system isn’t Dolby Vision “certified” yet, but the HDR is crystal clear and this is a noticeable upgrade over the Blu-ray. To be fair, I wasn’t that impressed with the Blu-ray and I found that the black levels lacked detail, which made the second half of the film hard to watch (visually speaking). This 4K improves upon that and then some, adding clarity and detail in virtually every scene. Even in the main “white room” offices, the bland office and outfits look clearer. So with all of the praise out of the way, I feel compelled to point out that the budget and the age of the film provide some limitations that even the new format can’t fix. But even with that in mind, this looks pretty good.
Audio: If the Dolby Vision audio presentation isn’t enough, we also get a Dolby Atmos audio track that’s very impressive. If you thought you were scared before, watching everything with the added benefit of overhead surround might be too much.
This title was reviewed using a Samsung UBD-K8500 with a Sony XBR75X850C TV.
The 4K UHD does not contain any exclusive features, but it does include a Blu-ray of the film and you can read our review by clicking CABIN IN THE WOODS Blu-ray Review.