Saturday, April 28, 2012

The Cabin in the Woods: Bloody Laughs and Surprises

This weekend I finally got to watch The Cabin In The Woods, Joss Whedon's latest addition to his ever-expanding oeuvre of inventive storytelling. To be fair, he co-wrote this movie with director Drew Goddard (who wrote Cloverfield) and given the result, these two men need to team up more often.

When The Cabin in the Woods premiered at the SXSW Film Festival this year, Joss Whedon earnestly pleaded with reviewers to refrain from spoiling the movie. I'm sure plenty of people ignored him, but I shall abide by his wishes because it is incredibly important to go into this movie spoiler-free. All I can do is encourage you to watch this movie and let yourself puzzle through the story line and take bets on who is going to die first.

Part of the surprise of the movie is probably the casting, so don't go on imdb and look up the actors beforehand. I saw this movie with a fellow Whedon fan, which allowed for a great deal of merriment when we spotted actors who have been in some of his other projects. But even if you've never seen any of Whedon's previous work, you will still recognize other familiar faces from film and television.

Of course, the highlight of the movie is its plot. The opening scene is bewildering but then you move on to the  horror movie trope of a group of college kids going to a creepy cabin in the woods, as they are wont to do. What follows are a lot of laughs, a gradual understanding as to what exactly is taking place, and a liberal send-up of the horror genre with plenty of gore and death to satisfy your baser needs. It's hard to mock a genre and its tired stereotypes while still making a successful movie in that genre, but Goddard and Whedon have magnificently risen to the challenge. The joy of the movie really comes in speculating who is going to die, which horror tropes will be turned on their heads or straightforwardly followed, and ultimately, trying to figure out just what on earth is going on in this cabin.

That's all I can say, and that's all you should know before heading for the theatre. This is a movie that can appeal to fans of both horror and comedy, and I can guarantee you won't have any nightmares after watching it. What you will take away is a sense that horror has become a rather sadistic genre, and we need more movies like The Cabin In The Woods or Tucker and Dale vs. Evil to make it less gruesome and more entertaining. 

Why would anyone go into this cabin?

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