In some sense, it is difficult to review The Cabin in the Woods novelization without actually reviewing the film it is based on. More or less transcribed directly from the shooting script, the novel is solely the intellectual property of scriptwriters Drew Goddard and Joss Whedon, with the job of adding some literary flesh and cartilage falling to brit novelist Tim Lebbon (Berserk, 30 Days of Night: Fear of the Dark). Therefore, perhaps it might make sense to briefly discuss the film and the metaphorical treasures within.
The most merciful thing in the world…is the inability of the human mind to correlate all its contents. We live on a placid island of ignorance in the midst of black seas of infinity, and it was not meant that we should voyage far. The science, each straining in its own direction, have hitherto harmed us little; but some day the piecing together of dissociated knowledge will open up such terrifying vistas of reality, and of our frightful position therein, that we shall either go mad from the revelation or flee from the deadly light into the peace and safety of a new dark age.
Despite a poor showing at the box-office, Whedon and Goddard have undoubtedly constructed an amazing journey into the darker and more horrific aspects of our culture, exploring how and why genre efforts might serve as more than simple mindless escapism and could ultimately be a lens through which to view the human condition. Unfortunately, this fails to translate effectively in the literary effort by Tim Lebbon, as the author serves only as a tour guide and less philosopher/theologian.