As a movie lover, one of the main rules I set for myself while walking into a theater is to go into it with no preconceived notions. Forget what you know or what you think you know. Leave it outside.
That said, it’s a little difficult for me to completely disregard everything I may think I know about a movie like The Cabin in the Woods. I had seen the trailer a few times, and laughed mockingly at each viewing. I didn’t enjoy Thor at all, so I was unimpressed by the casting of Chris Hemsworth, and, while I respect the career of Joss Whedon, his work (on shows like Roseanne, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Firefly, Angel, and Dollhouse) is simply something that does not appeal to me.
So, basically, I had no reason to see The Cabin in the Woods. That is until the power of film criticism came into play. And make no mistake, we here, us film bloggers, have a distinct ability to drive people to, and keep people away from, movies. Granted, I’ve never in my life read a film review before seeing a movie, but one can very quickly get a sense of buzz surrounding a flick. Buzz is what The Cabin in the Woods received, and buzz is what I capitalized on.
Let’s get down to brass tacks: The Cabin in the Woods is everything it shouldn’t be. It’s an ingeniously crafted horror thriller that never pretends to be smarter than it is, which, in this rare case, is very. It constantly managed to stun and amaze me beyond my wildest imagination. It very quickly broke whatever preconceived barriers I had set for it. I know I have a tendency to be hyperbolic with my sarcasm concerning movies I detest, so please, don’t take this review the wrong way. Just know that The Cabin in the Woods is, by far, the very best film I’ve seen so far this year.
You know why I laughed at the trailer? Because it is generic and awful. Do you know why it’s generic and awful? Because it has to be. If the trailer revealed what the movie reveals early on, then that would take the piss out of the whole experience. In that regard, I applaud first time director Drew Goddard (who co-wrote the film with producer Whedon) and Lionsgate, the studio releasing the film, for exercising discretion in their marketing material. They didn’t give anything away, and neither am I.
All too often, I am given remarkable amounts of shit for being too “snobby” with my film tastes, for not appreciating certain films for what they are. I’m told I’m unable to enjoy summer blockbusters or comedies or horror films because they “aren’t nominated for Oscars.” (Shame wasn’t nominated for any Oscars either, but I’m straying.) Those people couldn’t have it any more wrong. I’m not a snob, I just like good movies. I don’t give a shit who’s in it, who made it, or what it’s about – if it’s good or different or unique, then I can dig it.
The Cabin in the Woods couldn’t be more tied to its horror/action genre roots, which, granted, is usually a death sentence for me. But, alas, the film is good. It is different. It is unique. Actually, to be more accurate, it is rather fucking brilliant. A-