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Christopher Webster [Celluloid 04.14.12] zombies scifi horror comedy thriller adventure

Year: 2011
Directors: Drew Goddard
Writers: Joss Whedon / Drew Goddard
IMDB: link
Trailer: link
Review by: agentorange
Rating: 9 out of 10

**Possible Spoilers***

Cabin in the Woods is a brilliant piece of work. It's equal parts a celebration of horror cinema and a look at why we all demand a little horror in our lives, lest the dark beasts within us all rise and destroy this wonderful civilization we've created.

So what's it all about? Not telling! Suffice it to say it's about a group of kids who go to a cabin in the woods and horror movie stuff happens to them.

Many critics are reading the film as a hard-hitting expose of movie viewers as heartless voyeurs. That WE are the villains of the film, craving torture porn over story substance. I say that's not giving the film or its makers nearly enough credit.

It's old hat to point the finger and chastise movie fans for craving senseless violence, or not demanding more originality from filmmakers. Cabin in the Woods never really points the finger at us. Why? Because Drew Goddard and Joss Whedon are no different. They love this stuff as much as we do. They worship it at the alter like the rest of us. Christ, Whedon has been spinning off the genre since Buffy the Vampire Slayer and fans of that show will certainly see a lot in Cabin that feels familiar (secret organizations that keep muchas monsters... sound familiar Buffy fans?). And of course Goddard wrote Cloverfield, a film that emulates a long line of giant monster movies.

So, rather than being all high-and-mighty, the two of them are exploring why it all is the way it is. Why the formula needs to exist. Why as humans we both worship and want to destroy the same things? What are the greater forces at work here and what do they want with our souls?

Cabin in the Woods is also not a parody of horror movies. That would have made it fucking lame and it's too smart for that. It's a borderline parody maybe, but it never makes fun of it's characters in the way a parody would. It plays with tropes, but in a way that makes it stronger thematically. It's also not a parody, because it's an honest to god horror movie. Scares, gore and all. And when shit gets real it's not played for laughs like Tucker and Dale (bong shot notwithstanding). My advice? Never call Cabin in the Woods a parody. You'd be dead wrong.

Bottom line here is that the film is so balanced and well thought out, its characters all so very likable that I think a ton of viewers will take its ingenuity for granted. They may shrug and say 'yeah, it was pretty good.' Because it is indeed just another movie that entertains. And hot damn is it ever entertaining. But Cabin in the Woods also marks an important shift in horror. People who have been demanding smarter takes on classic storytelling have finally got it, and those who haven't will want more like this. There's no turning back now.

Cabin in the Woods is one hell of ride. Don't read about it. Don't be spoiled. Just go and love the genre all the more. Just go and have a goddamn riot.

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Lenny (10 years ago) Reply

Oh how I loved the hell out of this movie. Time to go again!

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