The Horror of "Us": Nihilistic Conceptions of Humanity in 'The Cabin in the Woods' Open Access

Richardson, Jared (2015)

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This thesis argues that Drew Goddard's 2012 horror-comedy The Cabin in the Woods implicates modes of spectatorship in the horror film genre. Exploring the ways in which the horror genre encourages desensitization to violence, nihilistic fantasy, and most importantly, an acceptance or even enjoyment of these perhaps disturbing effects, the film implicates its viewers for participating in an institution that uses suffering and depravity for entertainment value. Through the use of reflexive narrative strategies and Kantian determining judgments, the film uses its critique to suggest that these problematic modes of complicit spectatorship might be emblematic of an inherent human capacity for indifference towards the suffering of other. This thesis focuses on the film's apocalyptic ending to propose its own version of Eugene Thacker's the world-without-us thought experiment in an attempt to outline the limitations of conceiving of, let alone judging, humanity at large.

Table of Contents


The Woods: Key Terms & Concepts-14

The Cabin: Close Reading of the Film-40

The Sanctuary: Judgment and Humanity-61


Works Cited-80

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