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Sunday, April 15, 2012

The Cabin in the Woods

This review is spoiler-free, but there are spoilers and a discussion for those who have seen the movie in the comments.
So yeah, if you haven’t seen the movie, read what we write here in this post, then go see the movie without proceeding to the comments. If you HAVE seen Cabin in the Woods, you may proceed to what we have written in the comments section. One of us has a policy of trying not to watch movie trailers. Ok, it’s Ern. We’re done keeping secrets from you guys!! Haha. Anyway, Ern likes to walk into a movie knowing as little as possible.

Since Ern likes all genres, it doesn’t matter what it’s about. It just matters that people and critics have been saying it’s good. It is also a draw if good writers, producers, directors, and actors are involved. With this movie, you have everything you need to know. Stellar reviews from the critics for a horror movie is rare. Also, Joss Whedon and Drew Goddard brought us this movie. Joss Whedon made Ern a Browncoat (Leeard still hasn’t seen Firefly; she’s the worst. At least she's caught up on Game of Thrones this season, and she'll be watching all 14 episodes of Firefly this summer.) and Drew Goddard’s projects include writing several LOST episodes. After seeing this movie, Ern has never been more pleased with her “blind screening” policy. It was great to know nothing for this one.

For those of you who like to know the background, we will give you this: Five students go to a cabin in the woods for a weekend in order to have a good time. Horror ensues. That’s really all you need to know. Yeah, it sounds like countless other horror movies, but trust Whedon (Buffy, Dollhouse) and Goddard to make it worth your while and make a different movie than you have seen before. The horror genre (at least commercially/in this country) is pretty dead and played out, but this movie brought freshness.

If you like horror, go see this movie. If you can stand blood and intensity, but think the horror genre is sick and depraved, go see this movie. Whedon describes the film as a "very loving hat letter" to the modern horror film genre. He uses what he likes and riffs on what he doesn't. If you hate what horror has become and are tired of the clich├ęs, go see this movie. Goddard said that bad things in horror are students acting stupid and the genre just turning into torture port culminating in "a long series of sadistic comeuppances." We agree. Hopefully this movie is enough to kill those trends by pointing out their foolishness. If you are squeamish or don’t enjoy dark romps in the woods, avoid it. Still, Cabin is more witty, funny, and entertaining than it is scary. 

Movie Grade: A


  1. It’s safe to say that we did not guess the ending here. We thought the business operating the whole thing might be Hell. The man upstairs might be God, ruining things, and this was a traditional light v. dark story with a spiritual/horror twist. But it turned out to be ancient gods who craved sacrifice?!! We loved the “explanation” for why horror movies feature stock characters. This movie made some good points about the horror genre and our bloodlust. Our favorite parts were the Japanese girls defeating the evil spirits (“F*** you and F*** you.” Haha) and Hadley getting eaten by a merman. The end montage of monsters was fantastic. That snake! We like the way Jules’ personality was changed by her hair dye. She wasn’t always a dumb blonde. Puppet masters ruined her.

    We’ve heard two criticisms of this movie. 1) It’s smug and pretentious and 2) It’s not that scary. We disagree with both, to a point. We think as far as smugness goes, the horror genre deserves to have some criticism leveled at it. The torture porn movies (Saw, Hostel) are base things and deserve to have two nerds look down on and eviscerate them. Judgment has been leveled, and it’s not smug if it is called for and if the nerds/material is actually better than what is being mocked. As for the fear factor, there are different kinds of “scary.” This movie lacked standard “jumps.” It’s not going to startle you. But it is dark, intense, disturbing, unsettling, and visually arresting. Jules’ death/seeing her dragged screaming through the woods wasn’t exactly sunshine and meadows.

    We think the most disappointing thing about it for some viewers is the bleak ending. While it’s becoming more prevalent in horror, it leaves some people with a bad taste in their mouths. But there is a point to this ending. Another review put it this way: “As a final joke, the duo willingly brings about the end of the world instead of sacrificing themselves for mankind. Not only do they deny the gods (and us, the audience) the satisfaction of seeing them perish... they choose to end our lives as punishment for demanding their deaths.” You have to admit that ending fit this movie.

    Did anyone else think the “virgin” looked a little like Emily/Amanda from Revenge?

  2. Don't want to spoil the movie for myself, so I've only skimmed your post and didn't look at the above comment. I've heard so many good things about this movie, I'm really looking forward to it. Pity it's nearly 3 months away from an Australian release.

    1. Good thinking. Especially don't read the comment. The post is fine to read though. I have the same problem if I want to see Australian movies.