|Spoilers! Proceed at your own risk.|
If you ever wanted to see a film that ends with two people, splattered in blood and guts, sharing a joint at the end of the world -- this is your movie.
Now there's a line I never thought I'd say. But seriously, how awesome was that scene? :-)
I have to say up front that I am not a big fan of horror movies, gore, or general campiness. Maybe it's because I came of age in an era before modern special effects. I mean seriously -- who really wants to see a creepy undead kid running around in a hockey mask? So while I was looking forward to this movie for a bit of light-hearted, cringeworthy fun with the husband and teens, I wasn't expecting much.
Who thought I would love it and confer a rare 5-star rating? Only Joss Whedon, the crazy man who made me fall insanely in love with cowboys in space, could've pulled that off.
One couple has even been drugged to ensure they'll fit tired horror movie tropes. The cute blond pre-med student is suddenly acting like a bimbo, and her bookish sociology major boyfriend has become an obnoxious alpha male, openly gloating over the hotness of his girlfriend. Go figure. :-)
The group also includes "the virgin," who isn't actually a virgin ("The Director" later comments "These days, we'll take what we can get"), her prospective boyfriend, and their stoner buddy with a penchant for conspiracy theories. The stoner, Marty, is at one point referred to as "the fool." But he's actually the cleverest of the lot, despite carrying an over-sized bong that put my misspent youth to shame and spouting a lot of pseudo-profundity that could only be the result of a THC-addled mind. Like the fools in Shakespeare's tragedies, he is the one who speaks the truth. After all, the thing about conspiracy theories? You're only crazy if you're wrong.
Eventually, as in a video game, the intrepid survivors stumble onto the final level and have the opportunity to face the perpetrator of their suffering. My son (and resident gaming expert) pointed out that some shots were reminiscent of third-person video games. There is also this wonderful scene in which we get a peek at myriad creatures held in reserve for unwary victims. In this world, with a nod to Orwell, everyone gets his personal Room 101. Oh, and I thought the ending rocked.
If you look at this movie as a satire of -- or more aptly as a homage to -- movies, video games, and the campy horror genre -- it works on that level. It's smart and well-crafted, and it offers a wealth of entertaining references to games and films -- even I picked up on some of these, and I am neither a gamer nor a horror aficionado. By gleefully playing with technology vs. reality, and with its pastiche of horror movie and futuristic elements, self-referential humor, and video game imagery, this is also a fabulous tribute to postmodernism in film.
|Yes, that is Marty's over-sized bong. Like Chekov's gun, it comes into play. ;-)|
More importantly, it's a unique, imaginative, funny movie featuring intelligent dialogue and magnificent storytelling. There's also enough gore to satisfy viewers who count slasher flicks among their guilty pleasures. It's definitely one of the most original, entertaining movies I've seen in recent memory.
Other Fun Stuff:
- Houston Press: Top 10 Cabin in the Woods movies
- Unreality Mag: Concept Art for The Cabin in the Woods
This is one of my favorite movies of the year. I LOVED it. I loved how incredibly self-aware it was at the beginning, then as we kept going it just kept getting crazier and crazier and eventually found it's own feet. I did not expect it to go where it did.ReplyDelete
Joss Whedon is awesome, plain and simple. This will definitely be on my top 10 list at the end of the year.
Agreed! :-) Part of what made it awesome for me was that I avoided reviews and discussions of this movie, until now, and went into it knowing virtually nothing about the movie except that Joss Whedon was the co-creator. That was enough for me. ;-)Delete
Really? It's that good? I'll have to check this one out. Great review :)ReplyDelete
I don't know anything about your movie tastes, Naida, and with the gore factor, it definitely isn't for everybody., But it's definitely a unique movie! Even people like me who usually don't dig horror are loving it.Delete
Haven't seen it yet! Will be back to read this once I have.ReplyDelete
I hope you will watch it soon. I can't wait to hear your thoughts. And by all means, avoid spoilers!Delete
Excellent review! Finally saw it. It's definitely a smart film, but I'm not ready to crown it one of the year's best. Still, the points you raise in your review are making me reconsider. I'll watch the film again this weekend, and see if it grows on me on a second viewing. :)Delete
Thanks, Josh. I'm curious to see whether your opinion changes at all. Of course, you and I may just have different viewpoints on the film.Delete
When I review a movie, my perspective is always quite subjective. I think that's true of everyone, to some extent. I've always said there's an individual chemistry between a viewer/reader and a film/book. Quentin Tarantino famously said "If a Million People See My Movie, I Hope They See a Million Different Movies."
And I have an unreasonable love for Joss Whedon because I'm such a huge fan of the Firefly series.
I love reading reviews like this about Cabin in the Woods. From people who aren't horror film fans. When I saw it in the cinema, the guys I went with, at the end, they were all adament that the only way to have liked the film was if you were a blind Joss Whedon follower and loved horror. And here you are, while a Joss fan, not a horror fan and you still loved it! There are sane people in the world!ReplyDelete
Cabin is up there as one of my favourite films of the year.
Always good to know there are sane people in the world. Though I doubt the people I know in real life would characterize me that way. ;-)Delete
One of my favorite films of the year, too! :-)
Good review. I'm also not a horror fan, but am also a fan of Joss Whedon. While I did like the film, I didn't love it quite as much as you did.ReplyDelete
In addition to what you mentioned, what I liked is the whole other layer with the two guys in the control room being the "writers", the kids in the cabin being the "actors", the Director being, well, the "director", and we the viewers being the "elder gods who must be appeased."
I felt the movie would have been better if they had left the whole control room thing as a reveal in the middle of the movie. The stoner finding the camera would have been a fantastic time for it. Cut from him going "WTF" to the guys in the control room panicking because he found it. It would have been a great moment. (Think Willow and others listening in on The First Evil via Andrew wearing a wire in season 7 of Buffy.)
That's an interesting take on the movie, with us being the "elder gods who must be appeased." It had crossed my mind, but I hadn't given it much thought.ReplyDelete
I agree that it would have been even better if they'd held off on the control room revelation. I love your idea for the "WTF" moment.
I haven't seen Buffy yet. I know, I'm a bad Joss Whedon fan! It's on my Netflix instant queue. :)
I highly recommend it. I consider it one of the best shows ever put on television. Definitely watch it from the beginning. I write this because the first season is a little hit or miss, but stick with it. It's much more consistent in the second season and midway through season 2 it takes a leap up to the stratosphere.Delete
My apologies if this feels like spamming, but I reviewed the show here, if you are interested (no spoilers): http://www.tipsfromchip.blogspot.com/2011/05/tv-buffy-vampire-slayer-1997-2003.html
Definitely not spamming. :-) Thanks for the heads up, otherwise I might've given up after a few episodes.Delete