10 Top “Cabin In The Woods” Movies!!!

5-evil-dead-month

Evil Dead Month marches on here at Bloody-Disgusting! One of the most important aspects of the Evil Dead films (sans Army Of Darkness of course), is the cabin they take place in. Having seen the new remake, I can verify that the aesthetic and layout are more or less the same as they were in the first two films of the original trilogy. Of course, while they may be the pinnacle of the “Cabin In The Woods” subgenre – there’s a sh*t ton more where that came from!

These kind of films are among my favorite in horror, I love a good rural setting. So I’m almost jealous that The Wolfman (@TheWolfmanCometh – on the boards) got the idea for this list – which he wrote – first!

There always seems to be an understadable amount of confusion whenever I post a story from “The Wolfman.” It’s NOT ME you should be praising (or bashing) in the comments, IT’S HIM! So head inside for The Wolfman’s 10 Top “Cabin In The Woods” Movies!!!

10: ANTICHRIST

Definitely not your traditional horror film, and even as far as ANY genre of film go, Lars von Trier’s Antichrist is far from traditional. While trying to cope with the death of their small child, a couple goes on vacation to a cabin in the woods. While there, the question is posed to both them, and more importantly, to the audience, is whether the world is a good place where sometimes terrible things happen or is the world a terrible place and sometimes good things happen? Through visuals like stillborn deer fetuses to foxes eviscerating themselves, von Trier’s Antichrist is hard to watch, but it is a film that takes a more existential approach to the idea of people versus nature, as opposed to just a couple people in a cabin trying to not to die.

9: THE HILLS HAVE EYES (2006)

Yup, that’s right, I like Alexandre Aja’s remake of Wes Craven’s The Hills Have Eyes more than the original. Even though the remake might have less of a social message behind it, it’s a much more graphic representation of “us vs. them”. Granted, there’s not a cabin in this movie, but rather a family staying in an RV – and instead of the woods it’s the desert. But I still feel like there’s a lot of elements of isolation and the general fearing of unknown attackers made popular in most “cabin in the woods” horror films. Greg Nicotero’s special effects and makeup are some of his best work, the music provided by tomandandy combined with Baxter’s editing and the cinematography of Aja and Maxime Alexandre make the violence in the desert look gorgeous.

8: TUCKER AND DALE VS. EVIL

As a kid, I remember reading a book that told the story of the “Three Little Pigs” through the wolf’s perspective. He was just a guy trying to borrow some sugar and these little pigs started acting like jerks. Tucker & Dale vs. Evil takes the familiar plot of backwoods hillbillies murdering college kids and tells the story from the perspective of these hillbillies just trying to set up their vacation home and all these college kids keep accidentally dying all around them. Even though it’s more of a parody of the genre than an actual “horror” film, this is a comedy MADE for horror fans who will recognize all the situations that these hillbillies find themselves in. It also has enough comedic gore to satiate any horror fan’s bloodthirst.

7: I SPIT ON YOUR GRAVE

Although only a fraction of the atrocities that our lead character goes through take place in a cabin, this film still represents the idea of trying to go on a relaxing vacation and having things go incredibly, terribly wrong. When Sarah (Camille Keaton) rents a secluded, lakeside cabin she encounters a group of local thugs who violently rape her multiple times. This turn of events leaves her so damaged psychologically that she turns the table and plans the violent torture and murder of her attackers. Considering most films involving cabins are people vacationing there instead of living in them, this film serves as the absolute WORST vacation anyone could ever go on.

6: THE BLAIR WITCH PROJECT

I’m sure some would argue this is “tent” horror more than “cabin” horror, but there’s no need to be so literal! We’re all friends here, right? RIGHT? Anyways, a big theme in cabin horror films are being isolated in the wilderness, trying to fight back the unknown. Well, I’d say that possibly being stalked by a witch counts as the unknown, right? And think about how much more vulnerable a tent is than a cabin! All of the characters were incredibly exposed and helpless while wandering in the woods, and they did stumble into a house at the end of it, didn’t they? Let’s just call that a cabin.*

5: DEAD SNOW

Most cabin horror films take place in some secluded forest, but what happens if you turn that forest into snow? Well, a forest AND snow. What I’m saying is that it’s freezing in Norway so imagine how cranky the characters on Easter vacation must have been in their cabin? I suppose that people typically group this in with other zombie movies, but I definitely think it earns a spot amongst all other “trapped in isolation against something trying to kill you” films. In fact, one of the characters even mentions how stereotypical it is to see college kids heading into seclusion for a vacation and how similar the scenario is to something like Evil Dead II. Sorry guys, this one totally counts.

4: CABIN FEVER

Considering how big writer/director Eli Roth’s reputation is in contemporary horror circles, both positive and negative, it’s crazy to me that he’s only directed 4 feature-length films. Of course he’s been involved in plenty of other horror projects in various capacities, but none of those opportunities would’ve presented themselves if it weren’t for Cabin Fever. I remember knowing nothing about the film, but I saw Peter Jackson talk about loving it so I randomly checked it out. What followed was a hilarious and incredibly gory parody of many different horror movie themes. The dialogue is ridiculously immature and the characters are such exaggerations that they feel like cartoons, but Roth still managed to gross you out with the virus they’re all trying to avoid that causes your skin and flesh to melt off of you. Also, I’d argue that the leg shaving scene with Cerina Vincent is one of the most memorable moments in the past ten years of horror.

3: FRIDAY THE 13TH/THE BURNING/SLEEPAWAY CAMP

One of the most common reasons for characters to find themselves in a cabin in the woods in horror films is the excuse of a summer camp. If it wasn’t for vacations or summer camps, would there really be ANY people going to the woods? Sorry to make you guys look at three different movie titles, but I really can’t pick which one of these films is my favorite summer camp horror, and I know that if I picked any one of the three, people would be upset about the others not being included. Anyways, if you’re a teen attending summer camp and someone disappears or dies, LEAVE IMMEDIATELY. Wait until it’s daytime and get out of there, because as summer camp films teach us, you’ll have worse things to fear than everyone laughing at you in the outdoor showers!

2: THE CABIN IN THE WOODS

If Cabin Fever is a parody of a cabin horror film, then The Cabin in the Woods is a film ABOUT a parody of a cabin horror film, where the characters REALIZE they’re in a parody of–wait, this is getting confusing. Not only does this movie have every stereotypical character and villain you’d come to expect in a cabin horror film, let alone EVERY horror film, but The Cabin in the Woods even ACKNOWLEDGES that its main characters are intentionally archetypes. I don’t want to give too much away for anyone who hasn’t seen the movie yet (which is probably like, 3 people), but Cabin holds a mirror up to not just every common horror movie theme, but also makes the viewer confront why they get so much enjoyment out of horror films.

1: EVIL DEAD 2

I remember first hearing about Evil Dead and being told about a character whose hand gets infected with evil so he chops off his hand and replaces it with a chainsaw. SOLD! I ran to the video store and rented the Evil Dead. When it was over, I couldn’t help but think, “Hey, where’s the chainsaw?!” Even though Evil Dead is really good, I’ve always thought that Evil Dead 2 goes that extra step to become great. I think you can tell a lot about a person when they tell you which is their favorite film in the Evil Dead series. If they say it’s Army of Darkness, then it’s the comedy they prefer. If they say Evil Dead, then they prefer more traditional scariness of the original film. And if someone says Evil Dead 2 is their favorite, then I know that’s someone I want to hang out with because it means they equally respect the comedic and horrific elements of being stuck in the woods with a faceless “evil” lurking around every corner. Also, it’s the moments where our lead character Ash is alone in the cabin that Bruce Campbell’s talent shines through, solidifying himself as an incredibly talented physical comedian and Evil Dead II as the best horror movie featuring a cabin in the woods. Hail to the King, baby.

*Editor’s note: There actually is a cabin at the end of Blair Witch, so technically he’s right anyway.

 
  • Nightmare

    I thought Eli Roth only directed 3 feature length films? Hostel, Hostel 2, and Cabin Fever. What’s the fourth?

    • Aaron Emery

      Possibly referring to his upcoming ‘The Green Inferno’?

      • The Wolfman

        Correct!

        • DisturbedPixie

          Hey Wolfman, I take it you are THE Wolfman who made this list and also made sure we can enjoy The Burning easily. Thanks. I will be watching it later. The rest of the films on your list, I already have seen. The films I feel like could be here is Wrong Turn, Severance, The Thing and The Thaw, though of course The Thaw is no great film, but I feel like the isolation of it, Wrong Turn, Severance, Pumpkinhead, and The Thing has the same feel as other Cabin films. Plus Severance and Pumpkinhead actually takes place around or in a Cabin. You could also mention Area 407 and Wolf Creek if they didn’t totally stink. There of course are more Isolation/fear the unknown films out there though, that I doubt anyone can make a concrete list and call them all Cabin in the woods films. You could even consider Feast, Hatchet, The Descent, Eden Lake or 30 Days of Night. But these films are definitely all worth a watch, indeed, so thanks again.

  • Aaron Emery

    I’ve seen ‘Antichrist’ a couple of times now and I have no idea if I like it or not. It’s definitely a well shot, thought provoking and grotesque film but is it really enjoyable?
    ‘Blair Witch’ is simply the best fond-footage film ever made. It’s filled with dread and has the creepiest ending I’ve seen in these types of films.
    I would go as far as to say that ‘Cold Prey’ could qualify for this! One of the best cabin in the woods/ slasher films of the past decade.
    ‘The Evil Dead’ > ‘Evil Dead 2′

    • http://thefilmpolice.blogspot.com/ Armand DC

      Agreeing on your last sentence.

    • http://thefilmpolice.blogspot.com/ Armand DC

      So glad Sleepaway Camp made the cut, Evan! It was a real jawdropper!! Love the list.

    • rgold

      Antichrist is def not an enjoyable film, none of Von Trier’s films are really. I do however think its an amazing horror film and I’m happy it made this list. The idea of mother nature being inherently evil and it’s rule over us is pretty mind blowing. The (not so) subtle themes alone makes this one of the “ballsiest” films I’ve seen in a long time.

      • coldblood

        My problem was that I saw ANTICHRIST after I saw A SERBIAN FILM. Hard to compare to the king. Anything stronger than A SERBIAN FILM is either too slow or too low budget to still be a good flick.

    • NonieBologna

      If you like found footage there a couple other that are just as good. Including Clover field, and Atrocious.

      • Aaron Emery

        I haven’t seen ‘Atrocious’ yet but I love ‘Cloverfield’!

        @rgold ‘Antichrist’ is, indeed, a beautiful film (the opening sequence is one of the most gorgeous slo-mo scenes I’ve seen) and it carries a message and themes that are very intelligent and haunting. I would like to see it again while in the right mood for it. The blood-ejaculation scene makes me cringe and I don’t know that I want to see that again haha.
        Von Trier’s films are all haunting. I think ‘Melancholia’ would be the only one (that I’ve seen) that could be considered enjoyable, and that’s because it’s so stunning to look at.

        • rgold

          There is a “Catholic” cut of the film that’s def easier to stomach. If you happen to catch it late night on the sundance channel, thats the version that’s shown. I’m definitely the odd man out on this but the dread in ‘Melancholia,’ is all most to much to bare and the contrast of how stunning its all done makes it even more so.

      • DeadInHell

        Are you kidding? Atrocious was absolutely horrible. Cringe inducing. The worst possible.

        • mikeknowskarate

          110% agree

        • lovezoid

          Agreed, tedious and frustrating watch.

        • DisturbedPixie

          and that ending is just awful.

    • coldblood

      I don’t know if I like ANTICHRIST either.

      If you’re a fan of found footage flicks, there’s a great one called EVIDENCE that is available from the UK if you have a region free player. Just don’t read too much about it first – its best to just let it take ya for a ride. You’ll thank me later. :-)

      • evenscarier

        I remember reading about that one here. I wanted to see it.

        • coldblood

          For some reason that film never got released here.

          If you’ve a region free player grab it along with ALL THE BOYS LOVE MANDY LANE.

          Two older ones to check out are 10 RILLINGTON PLACE and THREADS.

      • Aaron Emery

        I just blind-bought a UK DVD of a found footage film because somebody on Bloody-Disgusting suggested I do it. Does that make me a sucker?

        • coldblood

          If you bought EVIDENCE, you did a good thing. I’m not going to give anything away but I will say this: the movie you think it will be in the beginning is not what it will be by the end.

          Don’t watch any trailers, just wait for the dvd.

  • Kenzo

    Evil Dead 2, The Cabin in The Woods, Cabin Fever and TUCKER AND DALE VS. EVIL are my favorites from this list. But I think the evil dead should have been on here as well. But maybe that’s because I’m just a big fan …

  • viking1983

    cabin in the woods is shit, shouldnt be on the list

  • horrorking95

    The Cabin in the Woods is the ultimate cabin in the woods horror film. It should be number one because it is every single one of these films on the list and more! In addition, I prefer Evil Dead 1 a lot more and I personally hate Blair Witch. However, this is a great list. The sub-genre is a great guilty pleasure for most horror fans, including me!

    • lucscs100

      Almost agree with everything you said, except I like Blair Witch, lol.

      • catawampus

        Blair Witch is one of the more original films on this list.

  • NonieBologna

    Except for Dead Snow they were all good choices. Dead snow was just awful.

    • Canucklehead

      Best frozen Nazi zombie movie ever.

    • DisturbedPixie

      Dead Snow reminded me of Iron Sky, just so cheezy and weird.

  • lucscs100

    Although I think the original ED is far better than EDII, this is a great list!

  • yellowsicktoad

    I actually like every title on the list.

    Speaking of being open minded…I would put Cold Prey/Fritt Vilt
    on the list.

  • justina

    what about the strangers? i think that deserves mention!

    • WalkWithMeInDarkness

      Agree. Might not be a cabin, but, as he says above, neither is The Hills Have Eyes.

      • catawampus

        The Strangers should definitely be on this list over Hills Have Eyes.

  • Grime

    The Hills Have Eyes Remake, Tucker and Dale, Dead Snow, Cabin Fever, and especially Cabin in the Woods are extremely terrible movies. Dog Soldiers should be on this list.

    • mikeknowskarate

      you have no taste. ….dog soldiers is slick tho.

  • Phil54

    Great list, I’m gonna try to see all 10 soon! Phil

  • c-s-a78

    you forgot:wrong turn.

    • WalkWithMeInDarkness

      Hell Yes!

  • Ravinus

    Hills Have Eyes is number 1 for me. Haters gonna hate.

  • anezka

    Antichrist is one of the few movies I hate and would not watch again in ANY hypothesis. It’s not a normal feeling for me in relation to movies. Some I find boring, strange, or just don’t like very much, but just a couple I hate the same way I do in this case.
    I like all of the other movies in this list I’ve watched so far. But, although the first part of I Spit in Your Grave is better in the original, I prefer the revenge from the remake. Cabin Fever is just hilarious and I remember the time The Blair Witch Project was released and everybody would say it was real footage (ahhh, childhood…).
    But the first one in my list would for sure bu The Cabin in the Woods. It’s more than a horror film, it’s a horror film which makes us think about horror genre and throws in our face that they do what they do because we wanna see it.

  • ThunderDragoon

    I have to say my favorite “cabin in the woods” movie would be Friday the 13th Part 2. And The Evil Dead would definitely beat out Evil Dead 2 for me. And of course, The Cabin in the Woods is one of my favorites too. I’m happy to see The Burning on the list. When I first saw it, I remember enjoying it more than the original Friday the 13th. I have to echo a comment up there and say The Strangers should definitely be on the list. It had that old school Halloween vibe that made me love it even more. Overall great list, Wolfman.

  • Beezle2112

    Using ‘The Hills Have Eyes’ and ‘The Blair Witch Project’ in this list, would that make John Carpenter’s ‘The Thing’ eligible for this list as well? It is a movie about an isolated group of individuals in a remote environment dealing with supernatural entity.

  • DeadInHell

    Antichrist is a joke of a film. Lars Von Trier is a filmmaker whose career relies entirely on pluralistic ignorance. If people judged everything they saw on its own merit and expressed honest opinions rather than adopting the views of others, he’d be out of a job. Instead, legions of would-be intellectuals and film critics pretend to find profundity and genius where there is only mindless self indulgence.

  • cid

    That’s a great list, although I doubt ‘Cabin in the woods’ should be regarded as horror. I think ‘Cabin Fever’ had already all the brilliant self-references to the genre and the insights that people hailed in ‘CITW’, with the advantage of being a horror film that addresses and respects horror from the inside.

    • DisturbedPixie

      for the general audience, Cabin in The Woods did scare many people. There were definitely moments that made most of the audience jump, and even scream when it was in theaters. And the content of the film was horrific, in the same way Cabin Fever was or any of the other films on the list with violent unexpected deaths, big bads and gore. If any film isn’t classified as scary, it would be Tucker & Dale. But they are all horror, and if you hate horror films, you’d hate all of these.

      And Cabin Fever did not have nearly as many tropes or references to horror films as Cabin in The Woods did, so I completely disagree about that insights that were hailed were already covered in Cabin Fever. Not by a long shot, and you can see this by looking at both films’ listed tropes online at TVtropes.org.

      Cabin Fever may have been a effective horror film with amusing jabs at other films’ tropes of a similar nature, but Cabin in The Woods universe covered so much and can exist in the same universe of many horror films, and in that way, it can increase the enjoyability of many films such as The Faculty, Dead Snow and The Evil Dead 1 & 2.

  • cid

    It’s not at all a question related to the count of tropes referenced, but an attitude (ethical, perhaps) towards the horror genre. For ‘Cabin in the woods’, horror is just a motif for structuring a plot that considers itself superior to the genre it addresses. ‘Cabin Fever’, on the contrary, is a film that discusses the ‘cabin’ genre without pretentious distance.

    Even though, CITW was responsible for estimulating and presenting the delights of cabin horror to a greater and younger audience.

  • catawampus

    the original Friday the 13th should be number one.