Characters / The Cabin in the Woods

As a note: we can't really get into the tropes without spoiling damn near the entire film. No spoilers are tagged below to avoid a page of white.

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     The College Kids 

Dana Polk (The Virgin)

Played by: Kristen Connolly

  • Action Survivor: She goes through some seriously horrific events and manages to emerge for the grand finale. Hadley even admires her will to live.
  • Almost Kiss: With Holden, before Marty interrupts.
  • Apologetic Attacker: To Marty, when she's about to shoot and kill him to save the world.
  • Beware the Nice Ones: Dana is a nice young lady, but she was still willing to kill Marty, albeit for the greater good.
  • Covert Pervert: After switching rooms with Holden because he decided to reveal the two-way mirror, she watches Holden getting shirtless before having a similar attack of conscience and covering the mirror..
  • Decoy Protagonist: While engineered by the plot to be the Final Girl, it's Marty who does all of the thinking and heroics during the climax of the movie while she mostly freaks out. She starts to pull it together toward the end, but by that point the world is literally minutes away from ending.
  • Despair Event Horizon: Hits this in her last scene.
  • Final Girl: An Enforced Trope. She's "The Virgin", so Sitterson and Hadley push her to survive the longest.
  • Heroic BSOD: Dana is rendered borderline catatonic after watching most of her friends being murdered and being swung around by the largest zombie. But snaps out of it to push the Big Red Button...
  • Non-Indicative Name: Despite being referred to as "The Virgin", she's not a virgin, having had an affair with her professor.

Curt Vaughan (The Athlete)

"Read the Gurovsky; it's way more interesting and Bennet doesn't know it by heart so he'll think you're insightful. And you have no pants."
Played by: Chris Hemsworth

  • The Ace: Curt is handsome, athletic, intelligent and an all-round competent guy. He probably could have led them all out of danger if it wasn't for the various manipulations put in place to stack the deck against him.
  • Badass Biker: If it wasn't for that Invisible Wall, he might have actually pulled off that jump.
  • Dead Star Walking: Chris Hemsworth is the biggest name among the initial Five-Man Band. No way he'll turn out to be the second to die, right? Although this was really his star-making role; since it wasn't released until after Thor it's Retroactive Recognition.
  • The Determinator: He gradually turns into this. It gets him killed.
  • Genius Bruiser: He's a great athlete, but also a sociology major with a full academic scholarship. The overseers manipulate him into acting like Dumb Muscle instead.
  • Jerk Jock: Pushed into it, but he's actually more of a Lovable Jock.
  • Minored in Asskicking: He's in school on a full academic scholarship and shows more interest in studies than sports, but he is on the football team and in shape.
  • Nice Guy: He's shown at the beginning of the movie to be a funny, intelligent and all around good guy who's very supportive of his friends.
    • His niceness seems to make him the center of the group. He knows Marty and Holden from different social areas, is dating Jules, who's friends with Dana.
  • Senseless Sacrifice: His attempt to leave for help with a dangerous bike stunt backfires. Hilariously.
  • Wrestler in All of Us: When fighting the Redneck Torture Zombies.

Jules Louden (The Whore)

"Soviet Economic Structures"? "Aftermath of the Cultural..." No! We have a lake! And a keg! We are girls on the verge of going wild -— Look at my hair, woman!
Played by: Anna Hutchison

  • Death by Sex: Enforced by the technicians.
  • Dumb Blonde: Enforced; she's neither naturally dumb (being a pre-med student) nor blonde. The blonde dye she uses is poisoned by people from the organization, dampening her intelligence.
  • Ms. Fanservice: Enforced by the technicians; it's pointed out by Marty that she normally doesn't act like this.
  • Team Mom: Her original role, considering her disapproval with Dana's affair with a professor. Unfortunately the Controllers already were altering her into a Dumb Blonde Ms. Fanservice before the film starts, so only hints of this appear.
  • We Hardly Knew Ye: She's the first of the group to die.




Marty Mikalski (The Fool)

"Statistical fact: Cops will never pull over a man with a huge bong in his car. Why? They fear this man. They know he sees further than they and he will bind them with ancient logics."
Played by: Fran Kranz

  • Badass: He's the only member of the group who succeeds in accomplishing anything, and actually manages to beat the organization in the end. He also racks up an impressive body count, whereas none of the other characters manage to kill more than one monster.
  • Big Damn Heroes: Saving Dana at the end of the movie.
  • The Coats Are Off: Word Of God is that the reason he dresses in many layers and isn't shirtless in the lake scene is because Kranz was in as much shape as the other leads, and they wanted him to seem weaker. When he gets his Big Damn Heroes moment, he's stripped to form-fitting clothes showing off a more muscular physique for his transition into The Hero.
  • Combat Pragmatist: His weed smoking bong isn't only an instrument to get him high but also a very efficient weapon of choice to save Dana.
  • Crouching Moron, Hidden Badass: Despite being high for the entire movie, he was the only one to actually win a confrontation with the Buckners.
  • The Cuckoo Lander Was Right: Marty was surprisingly on the money about a lot of things even before they started to go to hell. Apparently, his pot has made him mostly immune to the controllers' attempts to control him.
  • Dangerously Genre Savvy: Once his Wrong Genre Savvy moments stop, he gets into this.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Likely due to being an Erudite Stoner.
  • The Fool: Marty is called this by many, but he surprisingly fits into the Tarot archetype beyond just being a hippie stoner—he manages to succeed where others fail, often by pure luck.
  • Genre Savvy: The first to realize something isn't right.
  • Get a Room!: Tells this word by word to Holden and Dana.
  • The Hero: More or less becomes this by the film's third act, throwing the movie Off the Rails and foiling the organization's plot.
  • Hidden Depths: He's shown to be astoundingly philosophical during the final scene. Before that he proves to be both great at thinking on his feet and a surprisingly adept fighter. In fact, his introduction presents him as being close friends with Curt, the guy with a full academic scholarship for sociology, so they likely met through class.
  • Improbable Weapon User: He used a bong as an improvised weapon, twice. Offscreen, he uses a trowel to dismember a zombie.
  • Killed Offscreen: Subverted. He's incapacitated and dragged offscreen by one of the Buckners to be killed, and the Controllers assume he died a gruesome death. It turns out that they really should have made sure, because during that time he dispatched the zombie, found an entrance to the Organization's HQ, and went back to save Dana from Pa Buckner. No offscreen inertia here, folks.
  • Not Quite Dead: He seemed to have died, until his Big Damn Heroes moment when he saves Dana.
  • Offscreen Moment of Awesome: When one of the Buckners attacked and apparently killed him, he had not only survived, but neutralized the zombie by dismembering him with a trowel, offscreen. And of course this was a surprise to everybody, including the people in the Control Room.
  • One Last Smoke: He shares a blunt with Dana while waiting for the world to end.
  • Only Sane Man: Marty keeps cautioning the group against actions like reading the mysterious Latin. His pot-smoking has made him Properly Paranoid as well as resistant to the mind-altering chemicals used by the villains - mainly due to a mistake on their part.
  • Spanner in the Works: He singlehandedly ruins the entire Ancient Conspiracy simply by staying alive until sunrise. Not to mention he saved Dana, and helped unleash a whole lot of ironic death upon the controllers, mostly due to dumb luck.
  • The Stoner: Always seen stoned and never taken seriously, though he happens to be the most sensible person in the whole film.
  • Stoners Are Funny: Which serves as a Red Herring; you think he's the Plucky Comic Relief when he's actually The Hero.
  • Wrong Genre Savvy: Although, even after encountering the Buckner zombies, Marty finds a hidden camera and concludes, "I'm on a reality TV show!" It's a Justified Trope in that he's on pot... and the control room actually treats the situation like a reality show.

Holden McCrea (The Scholar)

"Do I lose points if I tell you I'm having a really nice time?"
Played by: Jesse Williams

  • Badass Decay: Invoked. He's in college on a full athletic scholarship for football, and is in amazing shape. The organization forces him into the role of the Hollywood Nerd, sidelining his physical prowess.
  • Covert Pervert: When he finds a two-way mirror that gives him a view of Dana, he lingers for a moment to enjoy watching her get changed before having an attack of conscience and letting her know.
  • Cruel and Unusual Death: Especially in the novel, where Holden is still alive, and in pain, after being stabbed in the neck as he drowns.
  • Danger Takes A Back Seat: How he dies.
  • Dropped a Bridge on Him
  • The Generic Guy: Almost no personality. Intentional since he's introduced as a jock who's forced to become a Hollywood Nerd.
  • Hollywood Nerd: Intentional. He's being made into one by drugs.
  • Lovable Jock: Less so than Curt.

     The Organization 

Overall Tropes

  • Anti-Villain: What they do to the sacrifices year after year is absolutely horrible. But if they don't do it, the world will be destroyed and far more people will die. That said, the staff at the facility seem to take an undue amount of satisfaction from watching the kids get slaughtered, but this could be a coping mechanism.
  • Five-Bad Band:
  • Punch Clock Villain

The Director

Played by: Sigourney Weaver

  • Big Bad: She is the direct cause. She leads a team to make sure a rite of sacrificing a specific group of young people following rules and stereotypes of horror movies is done correctly. All because to appease the fury of the Ancient Ones and prevent an End of the World scenario.

Gary Sitterson

"Calm down. Watch the master work."
Played by: Richard Jenkins

  • Affably Evil: He must sacrifice the college kids to prevent an End of the World scenario, but he's a very cool co-worker you can talk with.
  • Cluster F-Bomb: Commonly unleashed upon failed scenarios, specially with the Japanese ghost's failure.
    FUCK YOU! Fuck you, fuck you, fuck you, fuck you!
  • Dirty Old Man: His work includes following the Death by Sex horror trope, so he willing or unwillingly has to watch two youngsters having sexual intercourse.
  • Impaled with Extreme Prejudice: Accidentally done by Dana when he escaped through the tunnels. That was the most merciful death an Organization employee could have instead of being devoured or tortured.





Steve Hadley

Played by: Bradley Whitford

  • Death by Irony: After spending the entire film wishing he could see a merman, Hadley is finally done in when a merman enters the control room and chews his face off. Hadley is pretty aware of the irony, too; his last words are "Oh, come on!"
  • In Universe Nickname: "Aquaman," used around betting time as a reference for Hadley's desire to see a merman in action.
  • Those Two Bad Guys: He and Sitterson are in control of the process of sacrificing the protagonists for the greater good.




Daniel Truman

Played by: Brian White

  • Audience Surrogate: He feels lots of pity about the kids. Also, as a new recruit in security, he gets his answers responded about how the Organization works.
    Monsters, magic...
  • Covert Pervert: During Jules' sex scene, Truman can be seen making a few discreet but noticeable glances in the direction of the screens. He also is notably holding a clipboard in front of his crotch in that particular scene
  • Cruel and Unusual Death: He gets disemboweled by the Scarecrows but luckily his grenades gave him a merciful demise.
  • Heroic Sacrifice: Inasmuch as a Punch Clock Villain can have one, anyway.
  • Naïve Newcomer: Despite getting the job, he doesn't know very much about how the Organization works until Wendy and the others gave him an explanation.
  • Token Good Teammate: Of all the Controllers, he's the most reluctant one to lead the kids to their doom.




Wendy Lin

Played by: Amy Acker

  • Not So Above It All: Though she clearly dislikes immaturity among the staff and joins Truman in disapproving of the betting pool, Lin isn't above placing a bet of her own.



    The Ancient Ones 

  • Eldritch Abomination: All of them, whoever "they" are.
  • He Who Must Not Be Seen: Except for a giant human-looking arm at the hand at the end of the movie, we have no idea what they look like.
  • Greater Scope Villain: It's their fault that the Organization has to sacrifice young people for the sake of their desires and appeal to prevent the End of the World.
  • Jerkass Gods: BIG time. If the Organization doesn't follow traditional horror stereotypes or any single subversion, aversion, etc. occurs, they will cause a worldwide apocalypse.
  • Leaning on the Fourth Wall: They are pretty clearly a metaphor for the audience themselves, especially of horror movies: If their specific demands for the scenario aren't met, the whole world ends, in the same way a work of fiction fails whenever its audience isn't pleased with it.
  • Monstrous Humanoid: The only thing we see of them is a giant human arm, with dark skin and veins reminiscent of lava.

    The Monsters 

Overall Monster Tropes

Alien Beast

Angry Molesting Tree

Boomer/The Tank/The Hunter/The Tank

The Buckner Family

  • Antagonistic Offspring: Matthew, who not only murdered his father but also his brother and sister.
  • An Arm and a Leg: Patience had her arm cut and eaten by her family, forcing her to write the rest of her diary (and wield a hatchet...) with her non-dominant arm.
  • Apocalyptic Log: Patience Buckner's diary, which is also an...
  • Artifact of Doom: Specifically the Latin words at the end of the book.
  • Big Screwed-Up Family: Apart from the casual emotional abuse and sadomasochism metted out on a daily basis while they were alive, the Buckners eventually went from murdering travellers to mutilating and killing each other. In short order, Pa tortured Ma to death by cutting her belly open and filling it with hot coals; Matthew killed Judah; one of Patience' arms was cut off and fed to the rest of the family; Matthew killed Pa, specifically by mutilating his jaw; finally, he presumably killed Patience.
  • Cannibal Clan: A possibility. They certainly didn't have any qualms about hacking off Patience' arm and eating it.

Clown

Deadites

  • Our Zombies Are Different: Along with regular zombies and "Redneck Zombie Torture Family", the Necronomicon-induced undead.
  • Shout-Out: And some time before the Evil Dead remake in that!

Dismemberment Goblins

The Doctors

  • Dressed to Heal: Both of them are dressed in bloodstreaked hospital scrubs, aprons, surgical caps and masks. Close examination reveals that these clothes have been crudely stitched onto their bodies.

The Dolls

DragonBat

Flock of Killer Birds

Fornicus, Lord of Bondage and Pain

  • Amusing Injuries: He has circular buzzsaws in his head!
  • Artifact of Doom: A puzzle, almost exactly identical to the Lament Configuration (except it's a sphere instead of a cube).
  • Expy: Of Pinhead from Hellraiser. Like Pinhead, he's a mutilated demon lord dressed in leather who wants to test the limits between pain and pleasure, and has sawblades pushed into his skull rather than pins.
  • Hell-Bent for Leather: The BDSM standard clothing;



Giant Ant/Ape/Cat/Ferrets/Floating Head/Insects/Millipede/Owl/Snake/Tarantula/Toad/Woman

The Huron

Kevin

  • Nothing Is Scarier: In the film, we don't know what he does. Although according to the Cabin in the Woods wikia, the film reel that Marty brief looks at, while in the basement, was supposed to bring out Kevin.

Kiko ("Japanese Floaty Girl")

Killer Robot

The Kraken

  • Combat Tentacles: The only part of it we see is a tentacle capturing a scientist.

Merman

  • All of the Other Reindeer: Apparently the Merman has never been chosen for the Ritual during Hadley's tenure.
  • Artifact of Doom: A conch shell, which has to be blown in order to work.
  • Brick Joke: By the end, turns into one.
  • A Day in the Limelight: During the Purge, when it kills Hadley.
  • Graceful in Their Element: In its only scene, the Merman has great difficulty moving on dry land, and was only able to kill Hadley because he'd been knocked to the ground by an explosion. However, judging by the presence of a lake near the cabin, it presumably would have fared better had it been chosen for the ritual.
  • Ludicrous Gibs: "Dude, be thankful. Those things are terrifying. And the cleanup on them's a nightmare."
  • Our Mermaids Are Different: Sporting a huge fanged mouth, long tangled hair, webbed fingers, a fishtail, and a blowhole, the Merman seems only vaguely human at best.

Mutants

  • Alien Blood: When one of them is shot in the head by Marty, it bleeds green gunk instead of blood.
  • Artifact of Doom: Apparently, a large chest of bottles and vials containing unknown substances, complete with an antique gas mask. At present, it's not known if the bottles had to be opened or the gas mask had to be worn (or both at once) in order to summon the mutants.
  • Hazmat Suit: Most of the mutants wear these, minus the signiature helmets.
  • Institutional Apparel: The few who don't wear biohazard suits- like the one Marty shoots- wear hospital gowns and scrubs.
  • Vomit Indiscretion Shot: During the brief overview of the security monitors, the Mutants can be seen holding a captive down while one of them vomits green slime into his face.

Reavers

  • The Cameo: Joss Whedon just had to include another of his works!

The Scarecrow Folk

The Suffocators

The Sugarplum Fairy

Unicorn

Vampires

Werewolf

Witches

Wraiths

Zombies