The Cabin in the Woods (2012)
Directed by Drew Goddard
Written by Drew Goddard and Joss Whedon
The Cabin in the Woods was suppose to come out on February 5th 2010. It didn't. The poster and trailer were released December of last year. We had to wait 2+ years for this to come out. As a hoarder and fanboy of all that is Whedon, I was getting annoyed and was losing any hope that this movie was ever going to be released. They delayed it to 3D it. Joss and Drew cried foul. Would we ever see this???
And yes we all would. But as April 13th approached, I knew Cabin would be my must see movie of the year. I was having Whedon withdrawal and even though he was giving us Avengers, it was mainstream Joss. With CITW, we were getting vintage Joss. Teamed with Drew Goddard (a Buffy/Angel alum writer/director) we were going to get the answer to that age old question...
"What would happen if Joss Whedon (and Drew Goddard) wrote a horror movie?"
And beyond my wildest expectations, The Cabin in the Woods is the best horror movie of 2012. To go even further, it probably is the best horror comedy of the last 10 years. My fellow jaded viewers, CITW is better than Scream (sorry Wes) and all its bastard children. Tucker and Dale vs Evil hinted towards a meta aware horror comedy but CITW goes lights years beyond that.
Simply and concisely summarized, Cabin is a meta self aware revolutionary horror comedy that takes those structured horror cliches, be it the stereotypical characters, the irrational choices, the set direction and the mythos and goes all man behind the curtain on it. Joss and Drew go all Wizard of Oz-ing on the horror genre and it's so brilliant, so awesome and so fucking clever you will leave the theater in a state of pure happy happy joy joy bliss and understand why #CabinintheWoodsisEPIC was trending on Twitter.
It's a horror reference machine, sending you cameos, trends and cliches a mile a minute and it asks you to get it. Do you get it? Do you understand the parody of what you're seeing? You don't? Then go ask somebody. Go watch the Universal classics, the slasher franchises, the Kubrick masterpiece. Then you'll understand why Cabin is going to spawn it's own genre and some bastard children of it's own.
Five friends go for a break at a remote cabin in the woods, where they get more than they bargained for. Together, they must discover the truth behind the cabin in the woods.
Of course, the movie is about 5 friends who go to a cabin in the woods. But in the opening scene (in classic Whedon fashion) the twist which is SUPPOSE to be in the middle of the film is the one that starts you off. Any way of plot points and spoilers will ruin the movie for you so I will now not mention much of it (like CTK @ Planet of Terror did in his review). What I will do is answer my standard Q&A when I review a slasher film (because I'm jack full of spaz tuna) and also go in a bonus round, let's cyberchat in the comments. Go, go gadget Q&A!
1.) Does the movie have..... a mysterious, insanely strong, ridiculed as a child, deformed, inbred redneck slasher?
Check...and it has so much more that I'm getting giddy and a horror boner talking about it.
2.) Gratuitous, over the top, super fleshy nudity?
Check. Rated R motherfucker. They're real and they're spectacular.
3.) Stereotypical teenage caricatures with a few old people who die gruesome and horrific over the top deaths?
Check. A blonde bimbo slut, a stoner "fool", the dumb jock, the smart guy and your standard prepackaged final "virgin" girl. Oh how you will howl with laughter at Fran Kranz's performance as Marty, the stoner. He spews Whedon-logue as good as Xander Harris.
4.) No Plot?
It's really a trick question as of course there is a plot and it's fuckin awesome. When you drank a can of New Coke, you know it's just a version of the original formula. Oh how I love the original formula. Classic Coke with a twist of sassy.
5.) Kills by our slasher that make you go "Fuck yeah!"
Check. You will yell out in delight and make a mess in your pants. You will see a lot of fanboy O faces.
6.) Gore, lots of it. Like serious decapitation, dismemberment, impalement, hatchet frenzy steroid rages and blood shooting out at various penetration wounds, limbs a flailing and mindless splatter and mayhem?
Check. There are LOL scenes of WTF by the various "things". The blood and splatter are top notch. Lots of everything I said above with a point that may impale your brain. Hint hint.
7.) Geeky leader who takes charge of the hapless group as they try to escape who befriends the hot girl who knows about the "legend" (there's always a legend no one believes)
Wow. Joss get out of my head. This describes our stoner Marty to a tee. Though the legend is more of the "Here is what the fuck is going on" to his friends and the audience. Marty is using is sight beyond sight. That's the real power of weed.
8.) Funny yet ill timed dialogue but also various quips and one liners that are funny only the first time around (yet somehow funny again when you buy the DVD and only when you're stoned)
Check. The Whedonesque dialogue complete with Buffy speak is as always fuckin brilliant. Sure, "teenagers" are spewing dialogue written by 30 and 40 somethings but it has always worked when done by the Whedon players. The jokes are spot on timely and hilariously LOL. The play on words and reverse logic make it all the more fun. It's dialogue and conversation that is probably written in a conventional way and then Whedon-ized to make it funny. Remember, Joss actually talks like this.
9.) Gratuitous cameos of horror legends (a famous man of the box, classic Universal monsters, Kubrick tweens) that make you flash a metal sign and do the Beavis and Butthead pseudo head nodding.
Check. SPOILER ALERT!!! This link here will give you all the info you need.
9a.) Final girl goes all final girly?
Check. But it's the final girl we see at the end playing "Le Director" that you'll be cheering for.
10.) Wildly ambiguous ending that can be used to warrant a sequel?
************************************************************The Cabin in the Woods will be remembered as a game changer in the world of horror. It's a horror movie within the making of a horror movie. The Whedon elements are pure mythological magic, where he introduces something new to an audience that has long forgotten or chosen to forget why we all love the horror genre.
Goddard and Whedon break down into the slasher formula and ask the questions we've all asked before, during and after the movie. We've always questioned character motivations, absurd coincidences, elaborate backstory and heroic save the day moments but never has it been put in a movie so brilliantly and with such style and and LOL zingers.
A new generation of millennials has now been introduced us to the topsy turvy world of Hellmouth 101.
A spectacular pair of mangoes
Mucho slaughter via slasher weaponry
Mucho victim fodder via various slasher methodology
SPOILER ALERT!!! (scroll over to see)
----> (I'll never see unicorns the same again)
The Jaded Viewer's Final Prognosis
The Cabin in the Woods is clearly the film to beat as best horror movie of 2012. So many Buffy/Angel/Dollhouse alum I was oozing Whedonesque Fanboy-isms like a motherfucker. Everybody go see this movie. NOW. Drop what you're doing and see it now. Why are you still reading this?
Check out the trailer.