Why is there no thread for this? Fucking see this film.
Once I was informed that Joss Whedon and Drew Goddard co-wrote, and the latter directed, The Cabin In The Woods, I knew it was something that I would be seeing. Horror is not a genre I particularly care for, let alone look forward to a movie release of, but I was waiting for this one. Not all that long, but at least week and less than two. I’m a fan of all four shows that Whedon has worked on, and the same goes for Goddard; two of which they worked on together. It is because of this, however, that I had some high expectations for this one and I will just say that the Mutant Enemy team did not disappoint. I would also like to add that as I was watching the opening credits, I noticed the music was done by David Julyan (scored many Nolan films), which was an unexpected, delightful surprise.
It starts with two older gentlemen talking about having to work over the weekend and being approached by a female co-worker expressing concerns that their project may not go as well as planned. I had only partially watched the TV spot on Comedy Central (or Adult Swim) before this and did not have any idea how these three people (or the facility they were working in) were connected to a group of teens going to a cabin for a weekend getaway. As they are driving through the facility on a golf cart, the shot just stops and THE CABIN IN THE WOODS pops onto the screen in big text, instantly putting a smile on my face for a reason I cannot exactly put into words.
Cut to the apartment of two female college students who are getting ready for the weekend away. What follows is a humorous setup of the two of them, the boyfriend of one, a guy those two invited for the other girl, and then the late arrival of their stoner friend, all gathering to head up into the woods in an RV. As expected, the typical horror movie plot is falling into place, complete with a seemingly abandoned gas station on the way there and an encounter with the creepy owner of said establishment. It is going to be difficult to continue without starting to spoil the film, but I will do my best and save spoilers for comments and I will be sure to mark them.
This film does an excellent job of combining humor, cliché, and ingenuity. It transcends the horror genre in a way that is hard to describe while still avoiding spoilers, and the only way I can think to describe it is meta horror. (Not in the same way that Scream is, however.) It simultaneously validates all of the horror movie clichés that audiences love (or hate), while telling its own, original story; one that is not only something I’ve never seen before, but one that is genuinely interesting and bigger in scope than most (if not all) horror movies I have seen. The best part is that the story is progressed in a interesting and fascinating way, slowly revealed through the dialogue of characters who are discussing things they are familiar with but we, as an audience, are not. We can either pick up clues in what they say to each other to figure out what is going on, or wait a bit and have the events unfold in the manner that was hinted toward earlier. What I’m describing here seems like normal foreshadowing, but it is particularly fulfilling to stay one step ahead of what is being shown during this film. Especially when one of the characters seems to be figuring out what is going on, leading you to identify with them specifically and root for them over everyone else. At least, that is how it happened in my case. “I’m drawing a line in the fucking sand here. Do not read aloud the Latin.”
The only complaint I have, and this is a small complaint, is that at the end they feel the need to overtly explain everything that has happened up until that point. I feel that this is completely unnecessary because anyone who was paying attention, and has seen horror movies before, should pick up on what is happening as it happens. Making it a point to have a new character come out and outline the whole thing, piece by piece, felt like pandering to the type of horror audience that this movie is not aimed at, which would be that of a typical slasher movie. It seems to me that the only way you could see this movie that way is if you are as high as Marty is throughout most of the movie. Even that has something more to it that I will not divulge in this spoiler-free section.
To sum it up, this may very well be the best horror movie I have seen, and I am in no way surprised that it was the Mutant Enemy team who is responsible for it. When I do like a horror movie, there is an intriguing psychological premise to it or it is absurd and not to be taken very seriously. As I said earlier, this one transcends its genre and is done so brilliantly that I want to own it right now and watch it again. I certainly recommend watching this, even if you are not a horror fan or do not handle gore very well. It isn’t overly gruesome and is absolutely worth watching if you are at all familiar the horror genre. Plus when the credits roll there is a nice treat for those of us on this forum.