Sunday, April 22, 2012

Signal Watch Watches: The Cabin in the Woods (2012)

One cannot talk about this movie without SPOILERS.  If you have not seen the movie and plan to see the movie, please do not read this post until such time that you have seen The Cabin in the Woods (2012).

So, seriously, go away.  Just...  Look, I'm recommending it for horror fans, so just go see it and don't ruin it for yourself.  In fact, don't read anything about this flick.  Just go see it.

If you have seen the movie or do not plan to see the film?  Stick around.

So....  Those other guys gone?

Ha ha ha haha...  Oh, mercy.

That was one funny movie.  I just really enjoyed it.  A perfect Saturday matinee movie with a pal who loves horror movies the way Si does.

I don't know that it's a "run out and see it in the theater" sort of experience, but its definitely one I'd tell people to check out as a renter or Netflix if they're at all familiar with the tropes of horror flicks.  Really, has it been this long since I went to a test screening of Scream?

I'm not a horror buff, not unless you're talking about Universal Horror films from pre-WWII.  But even with my very low Horror-Q, I think I was able to really enjoy a movie that set out to be a lot smarter and more fun than the set up of sexy co-eds going to a cabin in the woods ought to be.  Anyway, I was laughing very, very hard during pretty good chunks of this film.  Its just a great mix of horror and comedy, right from the start.

I'll tell you where I went from snickering to straight up gut busting laughter:  where one of the monsters at the end chunks a security guard over a rail and the giant cobra pops up and eats him.  Something about the madcap mayhem of that scene totally won me over if I'd ever had any doubt.  I just loved the joyous embracing of mayhem the movie celebrates pretty much from the pre-title sequence.

And what can you say about Richard Jenkins and Bradley Whitford in the movie?  Two veteran character actors just turning in golden performances that both fit and surpass what they're known for.

Oh God.  The Unicorn!


I really hope you didn't try to read this without seeing the movie, first.

Anyway, I appreciated the obsessive attention to detail by the filmmakers, the brilliance of the mega-trap that was the cabin, the greater explanation and suggestion about every other horror film you've ever seen...  really, in some ways, this is the The Last Horror Show.  What's the point after this one?

I dunno.  What'd you guys think?


Zabe said...

Went and caught this Saturday night. LOVED IT. The Fool made the movie for me. Almost every time he opened his mouth I was rolling.

The League said...

Oh, that was perfect! When he showed up I was thinking "oh, God. This character. Again." But in the context of the movie they really made it work.

Zabe said...

Pretty much sums up the movie for me as a whole. They took so many cliches that would normally make you groan and turned them on their ear. I want to watch it again sometime now just to see what I missed earlier in the movie before I knew exactly what was going on.

JAL said...

I always seem to regret opening my big trap, but here goes.

I didn't like it, and the more I think about it, the more mediocre and without substance it becomes. Too bad. It was pretty damn enjoyable right up until the Buckner's show up. Not to say there weren't a fair number of laughs, but I kept wondering when the story and characters were going to develop beyond the idea. The whole thing seemed to serve the idea rather than the characters or the story.

I found the most genuine and interesting moment to be when Dana is being pummeled on the dock and everyone is celebrating, completely ignoring her. At this point, I figured the story would take turn beyond the setup, which it kinda starts to do but, again, plays out as an idea that never matures.

Much of the setup is based on the writers demonstrating their knowledge of the genre. Herein lies the major issue. Joss Whedon, and I'm guessing to a lesser degree Drew Goddard, preach to the nerd/geek choir, which is a pretty savvy, or at least genre obsessive group. If you can't progress past the shared knowledge, what's the point? We can all share the knowing wink and nod, but they never take it beyond that. I blame the TV background of the two writers. It's a medium designed to give an audience what it wants and rarely achieves to be more. What a boring time when all our expectations are met.

That underutilized and most interesting character, the security guard, hit the nail on the head, to paraphrase..."what's the point if it's rigged?" To which the wonderful and underappreciated Richard Jenkins replies, something about they have "free will." The story was rigged, but the writers never seem to give their characters the free will they deserved.

The League said...

You know, I think I get what you're saying. I may have had very different expectations, especially as I went in literally believing I was going to see another dumb teen-agers in a cabin getting killed movie, but I also thought it was embracing its mediocrity and substancelessness as a meta-point. I guess where we diverge is where you ask questions about character, and I sort of thought that was all beside the point of "you know what would be funny?".

I think that, yeah, they were absolutely talking to that horror movie audience. I don't have much of an opinion of Whedon and certainly not Goddard, but your point about their backgrounds in TV and providing comfort food (which is how I read the astounding longevity of the Buffy franchise) is well taken.

I do think its interesting to end a movie the way this movie wraps it up when the question of free will is in play to such an extent.

I didn't think this was a good movie with anything to say other than "hey, there's a reason why all these movies are basically the same. Yoink!" I suppose I saw it as an R-Rated comedy for the horror set.