Friday, April 13, 2012

The Cabin in the Woods (2012)

Fear 3/5
Gore 5/5
Entertainment 5/5
Creepiness 2/5

No doubt you've heard of this film by now. It's impossible not to have. Word of its greatness has invaded every form of media and has even had moments spoiled by 'respected' critics and publications (but that is neither here nor there). Word of the film and the unending praise its received has heightened anticipation and subsequently expectations. As we know, expectations can be a real bitch. So is it all that and a bag of chips? You bet your ass it is. Its a perfect piece of filmmaking and a reminder of why we love this genre of film so much: its not afraid to reinvent itself or turn well worn tropes on their collective heads.

However, this is a film that cannot be reviewed without giving major parts of the story away. It has to be experienced for yourself with little to no idea about the particulars beforehand. But a little bit of a setup is needed. A group of college age friends pack up their stuff and head out to a, duh, cabin in the woods that's apparently owned by one of their cousins. You have the jock, his athletic but more brainiac friend, his slutty girlfriend, her sweet and virginal gal pal, and rounding out the group is their goofy stoner bud. Tried and true (and well worn) tropes of the genre are played early and often.

And that's all I'll say about the plot itself. The way these tropes are played to the hilt but still leave enough room for you to care about the characters and not easily discard them as your typical fodder is nothing short of remarkable. The film does have a meta-ness about it but it's not as self-aware or in your face in the way that Scream is which is another kudos to the filmmakers. People say that it's impossible to top the brilliance of Scream and to that I say 'Go watch The Cabin in the Woods.' The references are there for sure but subtle and brilliant.

Probably the most remarkable thing about the film is that writer Joss Whedon and director Drew Goddard aren't that big into horror. I watched an interview with Whedon a couple weeks back at South by Southwest and he admitted as such. But he gets horror and what makes it work and what doesn't. Funny to think that a film that is essentially a love letter was written and directed by two people that aren't huge fans of the genre.

The Cabin in the Woods is a genius piece of filmmaking. Its funny, its gory, its smart, and the concept will fry your noodle. How it plays out and ultimately ends is just brilliant. The last twenty minutes of the film had me grinning from ear to ear. This is one that will be talked about for years to come.

Go see it. Go see it NOW.

Editor's Note: After reading this recent interview with Drew Goddard at Ain't It Cool News, it appears that Goddard and Whedon are big genre fans after all. Maybe I misheard Whedon during the interview (which very well could be, my hearing isn't what it used to be). Regardless, this is genre filmmaking at its very best.

Cortez the Killer


The Film Connoisseur said...

Okay dude, Im going to see! Sounds awesome, though, I've been meaning to see this one for the longest time, and now my time has come, and I am so there. Excited to see it. I see winks at Evil Dead I right? By the way, thanks for not giving anything away, I know next to nothing about this I think I'm going to be pleasently surprised!

the jaded viewer said...

It's better than Scream. Tucker and Dale vs Evil had a touch of self awareness parody but Cabin goes the extra light year.

By far one of the best revolutionary horror/horror comedy to come along in a while.

Only from my one true master. Joss, you just understand us don't you?

Planet of Terror said...

@TFC, yes sir. Def. winks to The Evil Dead series (and many many other films). In fact, I think the movie was filmed in the same cabin as TED.

@Jaded, you know what, the more I reflect on it, the more I think you're right. The brilliance of the film is that it doesn't have to be overtly referential. As a genre fan or even a casual one, you got just about every passing nod. I want to go see it again to see if I missed anything. The last act was freaking sensory overload!!!

Mike Snoonian said...

I have the feeling that repeated viewings are going to reveal a treasure trove of easter eggs and goodies. I can't wait to go see this one in theaters again.

Planet of Terror said...

Mike, I have the same feeling. Dammit dude! Why don't you live by me? I'd be at the theater again in a heartbeat!

StraightToVideo said...

If you dont enjoy this movie then you have no soul!

In the movie, on the dry erase board there is a list of monsters. One of the entries was "deadites"!

MarkusWelby1 said...

I tried to go in fresh and was so glad I did. This was such a great satirical take on horror that I can see a lot of the humor going over people's heads. I can't wait for this to come out on Blu. It's one of those that demands a thorough re-watch.

Juan Pablo Cabas said...

This was the best review i had seen in the past week. i searched for reviews for this movie to check if i should go and see this movie and now i know what to do, thank you.

Planet of Terror said...

Markus, completely agreed. Can't wait for this one to come out on Blu as well.

Thanks Juan! I appreciate the kind words.

Atroxion said...

Completely agreed. I'm certain that The Cabin in the Woods will reach a cult status that few other horror flicks have managed to attain in the years that are to come.

I also think that the film works better the less you know about it beforehand. I went into it knowing next to nothing regarding the plot and it turned out to be one of the most satisfying experiences I've had at the cinema in a very long time. Much like you, I was grinning throughout its final act.

LittlestWinslow said...

I reviewed this as well ( and agree with everything you said! I can't wait to own this on Blu-ray and pick it apart like crazy. Fantastic film-making!