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The Cabin In The Woods Character Who Was Actually The Villain

"The Cabin In the Woods" is a clever update to a well-known kind of horror story with tropes that fans of the genre will recognize. The 2011 movie centers around a group of friends who take a vacation in the woods for a weekend, which is already a familiar set-up. Then, mayhem ensues when the friends discover an item they shouldn't be messing with, leading to each member of the group being slaughtered. There's even a creepy gas station attendant who warns them about the cabin at a pit stop. At another point, one of the characters begs his friends not to read an incantation from an old book when they are in one of the creepiest basements. And even though they promise that they'll stick together, they immediately split up.

The film uses these tropes to set up the idea that horror films exist for a reason. In this reality, there is an ancient race called The Ancient Ones that require sacrifices in a specific way or they will destroy the world. All over the world, different countries attempt to make these sacrifices and appease The Ancient Ones. While it seems as though this is the ultimate evil that should be the main villain, there is actually a character that is much worse.

Dana is the true villain

Throughout "The Cabin in the Woods," Dana Polk (Kristen Connolly) is positioned as the "Final Girl." While she is not technically a virgin — a common requirement for a character to fit the "Final Girl" horror film trope (via Vox) — she does possess many of the archetype's qualities. She is shy, smart, friendly, and considerate — traits that help her survive until the last scene. Even though she does survive for a time, she reveals herself to ultimately be selfish.

In the final scene, The Director (Sigourney Weaver) is portrayed as the villain. She runs the company responsible for unleashing the menageries of supernatural creatures and killer beings that have gone after Dana and her friends, arguing it was all done for the greater good. The Director also reveals that the deaths of Dana and her friends are part of an ancient ritual to sacrifice five specific kinds of people so the rest of humanity can live and prevent The Ancient Ones from destroying the world. 

Dana and Marty (Fran Kranz) then reveal they have no regard for humanity. When they realize that they have to die for the world to live, they refuse to comply. When The Director points out that technically only Marty's death will stop The Ancient Ones from rising (and even though he will certainly die anyway in the coming armageddon), Dana does not pull the trigger in the end. She is responsible for the end of the world when Marty's death could have saved it. Only a true villain could end all of human life without a second thought.