Thursday, April 26, 2012

The Cabin in the Woods

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-


  1. Yeah, this movie is freakin’ fun as hell. It’s a horror film that is funny, witty, smart, full of so many twists and turns, characters that we actually want to see live through this even though they are dumb, and still ends up being a bit scary in the end. Great review Alex. It's a very good movie that I hope more and more people go out to see.

  2. @Dan O. Thanks Dan! Couldn't agree more with you, this movie seriously rocks. I'm surprised by its modest box office numbers, this movie should be making a killing.

  3. That was short and interesting, I am very intrigued, especially since I hate horror movies, but I might give this one a try. You never ever read reviews before seeing it? not even the non-spoiler ones? I can't do that- the reviews are the ones that weight in my decision of watching the film or not

  4. @Diana When I was much much younger, I'd read reviews to see what I was getting myself into, but since I've been writing reviews, I find that reading reviews before you see a flick is very very dangerous. For me, a review can help inform my decision about the movie, before I even sit down to see it. I'm only speaking for myself of course, but yeah, I hold off on reading reviews until after I post mine.

    What major film critics do you like to read? I used to read a lot of them, but I keep finding that they are too lax and easy on films, usually the ones released by studios who are owned by the same companies that run those publications. I wrote an exhaustive essay about this in college, and I do think there is some validity to it. That's what us unbiased bloggers are for!

  5. It's interesting, because while this movie has gone over well with critics, the typical market for horror films (so, teens with no interest in film) seem to HATE it, from what I've heard outside of theblogosphere . I guess that generic trailer fooled them too!

  6. @Rowan Oh yeah I'm not surprised at all that the teeny bobbers don't like it. It's to, you know, good for them to enjoy it :)

    Thanks for stopping by!

  7. Great review! So far it's also my number 1 of the year, as a horror fan I was eccstatic when those elevators opened :) It was a briliant mix of funny and creepy and it had a lot of great lines. Loved the homage for Asian horror films :)

  8. @Sati. Oh my god, when those doors opened, it was complete fucking bliss. Loved it. Such an awesome sequence.

  9. "I just like good movies."

    Amen. I try to explain this to seemingly everyone. "Critics" liked something? Well I didn't, because it was shit. Boo fuckin' hoo.

    I hate 99% of horror movies. Actually, that may be low. Why? Because they're shit. But Cabin In The Woods was a fantastic deconstruction of the genre. Oh look, having a coherent plot IS a good idea. Loved. It.

    1. Yes, exactly. If you like something, then LIKE it. Don't be influenced by arrogance.