Saturday, October 06, 2012

The Cabin in the Woods

(2011) **** 1/2
What a fun and smart movie. For those still reluctant to get on the Wheedon-nerdfest bandwagon, you may want to avoid this one, as it's downright infectious. I even got the wife to stay up till 11(!) on a Friday night to finish this one. But then, she's already all-in on anything by Joss, so I guess that was an easy mark.

Anyway, Octo's review from a few days ago gave a good "just enough" plot summary, but for those too lazy to scroll back a few pages, here's a brief recap: The movie begins with action basically taking place simultaneously in 2 locations. Setting A is a bunch of bureaucratic G-men tucked away in some high tech bunker. Setting B is a group of 5 college kids packing and heading off for a weekend at a cabin in the woods. As the two stories converge (at the cabin), it becomes clear that the G-men are running some sort of Truman Show-esque horror show with the 5 college co-eds as the unknowing (at first) contestants.
As Octo pointed out, it's key that Setting A is actually the first one we get to know, as the movie is more about the meta-commentary on horror films than about the fate of the 5 kids. Or, as Octo put it in grad-school speak: "The result is, among other things, a hyper-meta treatise on the self-aware nature of horror movies." Because Joss doesn't just do meta, he does hyper-meta.

There's very little here that doesn't work, hence the great score, but you may be wondering, "Why not 5 stars, Landshark?" For me, this wasn't quite on the level of a Serenity or Avengers, which are 5 star Wheedon imo. Part of that might be that some of this feels just slightly like rehashed material from his epic shows of the 90s. The later years of Buffy when the army of vamp slayers take on the amassed demons from the Hellmouth came to mind a lot last night as I was watching Cabin. I also wasn't crazy about a couple of the casting choices: the hot blonde isn't quite convincing in delivering some early Wheedon repartee, though she clearly got hired for her lap-dance skills. Damn. Also, the stoner kid starts out really annoyingly by pretending to be Shaggy from Scooby Doo. Thankfully, this sort of abates as the movie continues.

Well, those are minor gripes. I think I know what Octo means when he says the big reveal is slightly underwhelming, but I have to say that there's one set piece involving elevator doors that is phenomenally fun and gorgeous and takes you back to why movies are so much goddamn fun.

11 comments:

AC said...

looks like this is the one to review this year! everyone in?

AC said...

and thanks for bumping the eyeball.

Octopunk said...

Elevator doors! That's the thing that happens at the 1:15 mark I was talking about. Horror gold!

I'm so glad you liked this, and your lady too. Bonus.

Landshark said...

Yeah, I think I was literally cheering out loud during the elevator door scene.

Catfreeek said...

Great flick, so glad to see it getting such positive response here.

Johnny Sweatpants said...

Youse guys had better be right about this one. I've got it on tap for tonight!

By the way I finally updated Scorrorthon and the Monster List. Please check your scores and the links to ensure I got everything.

Octopunk said...

Thanks, Johnny! I have aspirations to help out there but I'm also full of crap.

DCD said...

Okay - I'm totally going to watch this so don't want to read any of the review or comments. Have to get back to you!

(But yeah, thanks again for being the one to push down the gross picture!!)

Catfreeek said...

Don't you buddy's get too comfy I've got more gross pictures for you, that's a promise;)

Catfreeek said...

Biddys! Damn phone!

Mr. AC said...

Saw this one in the theater and loved it. If anyone wants to catch it on the big screen (and happens to be in Boston), it's playing at the Brattle Theater in Harvard Square on October 30th and October 31st