A rambunctious group of five college friends steal away for a weekend of debauchery in an isolated country cabin, only to be attacked by horrific supernatural creatures in a night of endless terror and bloodshed.

The Review at a Glance:
(max score: 5 )

Audio/UHD Video total rating:
( Max score: 100 )


Studio and Year: Lionsgate - 2012
MPAA Rating: R
Feature running time: 95 minutes
Genre: Horror/Comedy

Disc Format: BD-66
Encoding: HEVC @ 1000 NITS
Video Aspect: 2.40:1
Resolution: 2160p/24

Audio Format(s): English Dolby Atmos, Dolby TrueHD 7.1, Spanish Dolby Digital 5.1
Subtitles: English, English SDH, Spanish
Starring: Chris Hemsworth, Kristen Connolly, Anna Hutchison, Fran Krantz, Jesse Williams, Richard Jenkins, Bradley Whitford
Directed by: Drew Goddard
Music by: David Julyan
Written by: Joss Whedon & Drew Goddard
Region Code: A

Release Date: September 5, 2017
"You think you know the story…"

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My Take:

I reviewed The Cabin in the Wood’s 2012 Blu-ray release, and have included my comments from that review here. Ratings for film, and bonus content will be the same, as they are identical to that release. New comments and ratings for the Ultra HD video and Dolby Atmos sound mix are below.

The Cabin in the Woods begins as a conventional teen/scream horror movie then transforms into a genre-bending experience that cleverly mixes frights with pop-culture wit, as the terrorized teens are revealed to be watched by a group of technicians that follow their every move, and are controlling the disturbing events from behind the scenes. Seeing that Joss Whedon and Drew Goddard co-wrote the script I figured this film would break from genre convention, but I wasn’t sure what the outcome would be.

The introduction is about what you would expect as we see a group of teens heading for a weekend in a secluded cabin owned by one of their relatives. Things progress quickly after the group discovers a variety of odd and distinctly different items in the basement. When they read from an old diary that belonged to a young girl that once lived in the cabin events escalate to creepy and murderously bloody proportions. Watching their every move are what appear to be two “handlers” whose job it is to get them to the cabin and to get them to interact with the items/relics in the basement. The “handlers” work at a fully staffed facility and it is clear that what they are doing isn’t designed for entertainment (although it is evident they enjoy their jobs). The question is what are they doing…and why?

Not quite what I was expecting The Cabin in the Woods turned out to be more, and ultimately lots of fun. Conceptually clever the script is a multi-genre blend built upon horror elements that draws from many of its clichés and turns them inside out. I found it to be witty, creepy, and over the top as its reanimated context serves as a titillating homage that should strike a chord with horror fans. There is plenty of gore, and a great cache of nightmarish creatures that compliment the narrative’s conventional, and unconventional aspects. It’s clear early on that the watchers have lured the kids to the cabin but it’s how they do their jobs, and to what end, that proves so entertaining. In most teen scream flicks the characters are pretty unsympathetic in that you can’t help but feel that they ignored all the signs of trouble and aimlessly wandered into their situation. Here they are clearly victims of a ruse, and are just trying to get the hell out of Dodge. On the flip side are seemingly ordinary people working a nine to five (so to speak) that is about as different a job as you can get.

I found the characters on both sides to be drawn well within the thematic spirit of the film. The action is fun, the levity is timely, and the frights are engaging while keeping the camp factor to a minimum. The Cabin in the Woods isn’t hair raising or cinematically stirring, but it is exactly what it is intended to be, a great way to spend an hour and a half when you’re in the mood for something a little different.

Replay Value:
Parental Guide:

The rating is for strong bloody horror violence and gore, language, drug use and some sexuality/nudity.

AUDIO/VIDEO - By The Numbers:REFERENCE = 92-100/EXCELLENT = 83-91/GOOD = 74-82/AVERAGE = 65-73/BELOW AVERAGE = under 65

**My audio/video ratings are based upon a comparative made against other high definition media/blu-ray disc.**

UHD Presentation(HDR-10): 80
(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)

  • HDR: Dark Highlights:
  • HDR: Bright Highlights:
  • HDR: Expanded Color & WCG:
  • Resolution: 
  • Visual Impact: 


UHD Presentation (Dolby Vision): 82
(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)

  • HDR: Dark Highlights:
  • HDR: Bright Highlights:
  • HDR: Expanded Color & WCG:
  • Resolution: 
  • Visual Impact: 


Dolby Atmos Rating: 94
(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)

  • Level of immersion: 
  • Soundstage integration: 
  • Audio object placement: 
  • Effectiveness: 
  • Entertainment factor: 


Ultra HD Blu-ray has finally been released and eager enthusiasts are ready and willing to see what it has to offer. For those not familiar with the details regarding Ultra HD Blu-ray you can refer to my article that includes some pertinent data on the subject. Here is the link:

Ultra HD Blu-ray Has Come to AVS Forum Blu-ray Reviews

The Cabin in the Woods comes to Ultra HD Blu-ray from Lionsgate Home Entertainment featuring 2160pHEVC encoded video that has an average bitrate of 80 Mbps and lossless Dolby Atmos/TrueHD 7.1 sound that has an average bitrate of 3.5 Mbps.

The Cabin in the Woods garnered a solid report from me on its video quality in 1080p. Its presentation in Ultra HD was rendered from a 2K DI and up-converted to 4K.

From a cinematic perspective, this film was shot with a specific visual aesthetic in mind and that comes through in this presentation. The Ultra HD presentation bests the 1080p versions in most respects, but the margin isn’t a wide one. The Cabin in the Woods isn’t an especially colorful film. With the exception of moments, such as the opening sequence or the exterior shots that take place in the mountainous region along the route to the cabin, the film doesn't make for especially eye-catching levels of color, but the palate of cooler chromatic hues, sepia tones and variants of blue/red/green benefited from UHD's wider color gamut, appearing richer, a bit more delineated and pleasing to the eye.

Resolution gets a minor boost as well. Close-ups tend to offer improved refinement and deeper resolvable texture on surfaces and physical features when compared to the Blu-ray. This becomes more evident during the final act, which takes place in the Watcher’s facility, with its artificial lighting, shiny accents and blend of live action/CGI. There is intermittent use of visual elements that utilize high dynamic range. I wasn't blown away by its application although some of that may be owed to the nature of the photography.

There are instances where bright elements looked appreciably vibrant. The scene where Dana and Marty are in the cube/cell, and she steps forward into the fluorescent lighting (to peer in the adjacent cube/cell, is a good example. Alternatively, low level sequences, such as the one in the basement or when Kurt and Jules are alone in the forest, had excellent depth of field, as the streaming/cascading light offset the layers of detail in the background. All in all, I think that The Cabin in the Woods benefitted from the Ultra HD treatment. The improvement isn’t a consistently glaring one, however there are moments where it truly shines. This is something that those contemplating the upgrade will have to consider.

Dolby Vision vs HDR-10:

I recently added the TCL 55P607 UHD Dolby Vision HDR flat panel to my review system. This was to enable me to compare the visual quality of titles that contained the Dolby Vision metadata versus its HDR-10 counterpart on the same disc. All titles are first watched via my JVC front projector. I then select specific scenes which are watched on the TCL, first via HDR-10 then via Dolby Vision. The TCL isn’t among the top tier flat panels with DV, however it came recommended by AVS Senior Editor Mark Henninger, and calibrates/performs extremely well for a set at its price point.

* The cumulative A/V score will still be based upon the HDR-10 rating, with the DV rating serving as informational only for now.*

Comparing the DV and HDR-10 presentations for The Cabin in the Woods, I found the HDR to be extremely close. In fact, I would go so far as to say they were nearly negligible, with the slight edge going to DV for providing just a hint more richness to primary colors, such as the blue in Holden’s shirt, the red hues in Dana lips and the twinkling lights on the console in the control room. Again, I want to emphasize that this film’s elements are lent to the engaging type of HDR that makes the format shine.

In listening to the Dolby Atmos surround mix I found it to be of the active variety that made steady use of the platform. The Cabin in the Woods had a top notch 7.1 DTS-HD Master Audio surround presentation on Blu-ray, which is taken to the next level in Dolby Atmos. The use of audio objects placed above is a mix atmospherics and discrete effects that successfully expand the depth of the soundstage. This is done to very good effect, creating a tangible level of immersion that coincides with the onscreen events with aplomb. The film features several set pieces that show off the immersive effect as the blend of music, atmospherics and object sounds rain down from above.

When called upon everything comes together, placing you inside the action as sounds rotate and revolve around the soundstage from both above and at ear level. Chapter 12 is where things really take off, beginning with the scene where Dana and Marty are in the cell/cube and the camera pans back to reveal all of them, as they begin to rotate/shift. It sounds terrific! I enjoyed the balance of atmosphere and integration of discrete object placement. I think that each complimented the source material, and made for an entertaining listening experience.

This Dolby Atmos sound mix takes the enjoyment of an already solid home theater presentation to the next level, making for an entertaining and fun listening experience. Kudos to Lionsgate…

Bonus Features:
  • Disc 1: The Cabin in the Wood Ultra HD Blu-ray
    Disc 2: The Cabin in the Woods Blu-ray
  • It’s Not What You Think: The Cabin in the Woods Bonusview Mode – Interactive PiP feature where cast/crew interject their thoughts/experiences making the film.
  • Audio Commentary with writer/director Drew Goddard & writer/producer Joss Whedon
  • We Are Not Who We Are: The Making of The Cabin in the Woods – 28 minute featurette
  • The Secret Secret Stash:
    1. Marty’s Stash
    2. My Name is Joss and I’ll Be Your Guide
  • An Army of Nightmares: Makeup & Animatronic Effects
  • Primal terror: Visual effects
  • Wonder-Con Q&A
  • Theatrical Trailer
  • Digital HD Copy
Final Thoughts:

The Cabin in the Woods begins as a conventional teen/scream horror movie then transforms into a genre-bending experience that cleverly mixes frights with pop-culture. I found it to be witty, entertainingly creepy, and over the top as its reanimated context serves as a titillating homage that should strike a chord with horror fans. The Cabin in the Woods is making its Ultra HD Blu-ray debut in this Ultra HD Blu-ray Combo Pack from Lionsgate Home Entertainment, featuring a faithful and complimentary video rendering (which includes Dolby Vision HDR) that make the most of the source material, a terrific Dolby Atmos immersive sound mix, and legacy supplemental material. If you enjoy the type of popcorn entertainment The Cabin in the Woods brings to the table, and are set up for Ultra High Definition, and/or Dolby Atmos immersive sound, this offering belongs in your video library. Enjoy!

Ralph Potts
AVS Forum Blu-ray Reviews

Reference Review System:
JVC DLA-RS500 3D/4K Ready High Definition Front Projector
(Calibrated with Calman 5 & C6-HDR Meter from  Spectracal )
Stewart Filmscreen - Studiotek 130 G3 100” 16x9 Screen
Carada Masquerade Electronic Horizontal Masking System
Marantz AV8802A 13.2 Channel Audio/Video Processor
Sherbourn Technologies - 7/200 Seven Channel Amplifier
B&K Reference 200.7 Series 2 Seven Channel Amplifier
Oppo UDP-203 Ultra HD Blu-ray Player
Sony Playstation 3 Blu-ray disc Player
System Controller: Apple iPad/iRule Pro HD Universal Remote Control
Canton "Ergo" and Canton In-Ceiling Series Speakers
SVS Ultra Surrounds (Gloss Finish in Bipolar Configuration)
SVS PB-13 Ultra (Rosenut finish)
SVS SB-13 Ultra (Piano Gloss finish)
Panamax M5400-PM Power Conditioner/Surge Protector
Wireworld, Better Cables (Silver Serpent) - Audio/Video/Speaker Cabling
Cool Components - CP-CP102 cooling package