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April 14, 2012

The Cabin in the Woods

(2011, Dir. by Drew Goddard.)

To many of us in the horror lovin' community, The Cabin in the Woods has been a real life version of the golden ticket from Willy Wonka for the last several years.  As you can see from the poster I've shared right over there (<-------------), the film was originally set to release in early 2010.  Despite the powerful name of writer/producer Joss Whedon, the film sat on a shelf for nearly three years after shooting finished, partially due to studio struggles and partially due to studio idiocy.  It's become so anticipated that I had nightmares last night about missing the screening I planned to attend tonight. It takes a lot of hype to make a horror nerd have nightmares about missing a movie, but Cabin pulled it off.

During the delay, the film's mysterious plot became a very contentious point, and a lot of anxious folks became very upset with other so-called "critics" who were very willing to spill details of the film for their own sake.  This makes me furious.  If someone wants to go to the movies so they can be an authority and tell others what to do, they're worthless to me.  That's not why I'm here.  I go to the movies to get my socks rocked off, and I share what I feel with you all because I want to help you have the same happen.  That's my job here, and it doesn't include spoiling things because I've passed some judgment on the material.

Tonight, after FINALLY seeing The Cabin in the Woods, I feel that it would be incredibly improper for me to even discuss the plot of the film.  It's a one-of-a-kind horror experience, and you will gain nothing from me explaining what it is.  That leaves me with very little I can say about the film, but I simply will not risk ruining the surprises for any interested parties.

There are some things you might want to know about The Cabin in the Woods before you go in.  For starters, you will be happy to hear that Whedon and co-writer/director Drew Goddard show an incredible understanding of what the horror genre is.  It has become common for filmmakers to mimic and call out the conventions of the horror film - Scream and Behind the Mask did similar things with their tones - but what impressed me most about The Cabin in the Woods was how well it used those conventions and then pushed through them to a much different place.

All audiences will probably appreciate the humor that is used throughout The Cabin in the Woods.  There were plenty of moments where I found myself sincerely laughing out loud, and not all of them come from the film's jabs at horror concepts.  Two elder characters do a lot for the film, explaining some of the gags and providing a neat perspective on what the audience expects.

As with most horror movies that are worth a darn, you will not expect the final act.  As the film reached the point that I thought was our end, I was nowhere near ready to see the film go to the places that it still planned to go.  I'm not so sure that all the moves made in the last 20 minutes really worked entirely - there seemed to be a bit of excess for the sake of excess going on - but everything stays true to the story that has been created and the world that the film exists in.

I feel like I'm just beating around the bush as I talk about the film here - and actually, I am beating around the bush - but I can not stress enough that this is imperative.  You need to know as little as you can about the film if you really want to experience the truly unpredictable things that occur in The Cabin in the Woods.  I'm not giving you a trailer, I'm not even using the poster created by the current studio that released the film.  I'd love to discuss what I think the film meant and how much the social commentary made sense, but instead I'm just telling you to go see The Cabin in the Woods as soon as possible. It's one of the most unique things to happen to horror in a long time, and it will make its own impressions on you.


Anonymous said...

What's so amazing to me is, even though Goddard and Whedon 'get' horror, they aren't necessarily the biggest fans. I saw an interview with Whedon at South by Southwest a a few weeks ago and he said as much. So essentially, a film that is a love letter to the genre was done by two dudes who aren't necessarily the biggest fans but they 'get it' and more importantly, respect it. Just brilliant.

R.D. Penning said...

I flipping loved this movie, and I would love to go see it again as soon as possible! AMAZING!

Anonymous said...

Alright, maybe I misheard Whedon. After reading this interview, it appears that they are both in fact huge genre fans (yes, I know Whedon was involved with Buffy for awhile but I think you can have an admiration for a particular genre and not necessarily be a fan).