Friday, April 13, 2012

The Horror Film To End All Horror Films?

For a good chunk of The Cabin In The Woods' running time I had the sinking feeling that this much-hyped film just wasn't going to meet my expectations. I wasn't disliking what I was seeing but yet I wasn't quite loving it either. It was full of clever dialogue and as events unfolded the film wasn't suffering for any lack of intelligence but yet I wasn't fully pulled in. I felt that the level of genre commentary in Joss Whedon and director Drew Goddard's script was more glib than trenchant. But at a certain point, that changed and The Cabin In The Woods became pretty much everything I was hoping for and then some. I don't know if it ever got any deeper (maybe a notch more clever) but it sure got a lot more gonzo and that was enough for me.

I hesitate to get into any spoilers so early into Cabin's (hopefully long lasting) run but suffice it to say, this movie is well worth any horror fan's time. My advice would be to avoid any further articles or reviews and just go see it with as little advance knowledge as possible. I almost wish that the marketing hadn't given away the fact that there's an outside group at work in the film but as it's something that's revealed as soon as the movie begins it's hard to call it a spoiler. There's no real twists per se to be revealed but there is a sense of surprise as the story escalates that should be preserved.

On the downside, the scare factor isn't very high at all (some might even call it non-existent), which is a slight disappointment, but by the climax I'm betting that most fans will feel there's been ample compensation for the lack of full-on terror. I know I left satisfied, at least. In interviews, Whedon described Cabin in grand terms of being "the horror film to end all horror films" and while no such beast will ever exist, Whedon and Goddard clearly had a ball trying to create it. If only every filmmaker working in the genre could show as much love and enthusiasm for it.

11 comments:

Dom Coccaro said...

I keep hearing groovy things about this flick. I might have to break down and visit the local multiplex.

Jeff Allard said...

Give it a shot, Dom. Just expect more laughs than scares - but it's not a spoof or send-up.

Bob Ignizio said...

Checking it out at the drive-in tonight (on a double bill with 'The Lady in Black' - if only there was a double bill like that at the drive-in every week).

Planet of Terror said...

What I find most amazing about the film is that Goddard and Whedon aren't the biggest horror fans. I saw an interview with Whedon a couple of weeks back at South by Southwest where he admitted as much. But they both 'get' the genre and have a healthy respect for it. Amazing to think that one of the best love letters to the genre was made by two dudes who aren't necessarily the biggest fans.

I do think the scare where the stoner guy is facing away from the house and the zombie girl is walking up behind him but instead he's startled by his bloodied friend was pretty effective.

Mummbles said...

I found it to be the most original horror film in a long time. I like the laughs and when horror doesn't it take itself too seriously. Best movie to play with the genre since Scream IMO.

The Film Connoisseur said...

Fun times in deed, loved the weirdness, the unexpected turns and of course, the symbolisms! This was a very symbolic film, lots of critique about society and even, how films are made and distributed. The film was talking about a lot of things! Loved that about it.

Emily said...

I absolutely loved this movie, but you know, I almost wonder if the marketing should have played up the comedy aspect a little more. All the horror or Whedon fans I know were completely on board, but I was absolutely dumbstruck when I talked to a few friends and family members who went to see it and came out confused about why the movie wasn't scary, and how the audience was supposed to feel about it. I know the feel received a low Cinemascore grade, which is probably explained by non-movie nerds seeing what they expected to be straight horror and walking out confused about whether they were supposed to be scared or not. Maybe it was worth it to make everything a little more surprising for REAL fans, but I just hope the awkward bait 'n 'switch doesn't hurt the film's box office in the end.

Planet of Terror said...

I think I'll take back by statement after reading this recent interview with Goddard (warning: spoilers abound). I'll admit my hearing isn't what it used to be, so maybe I misheard Joss.

http://www.aintitcool.com/node/55082

Kaijinu said...

oh, mate, you're just aching me. Philippines is yet to show this, and I'm left behind! You lucky.

knobgobbler said...

I finally got around to seeing this one tonight.
Despite keeping myself in as much of a media blackout as I could... it was pretty much what I expected.
Which is fine, like you I took the gonzo it offered and that was good enough. It didn't really push my horror or comedy buttons though.

One thing I haven't seen mentioned were the similarities between this and The Hunger Games... in the sense of what is 'really' going on. I haven't read the books but the 'games' in the movie reminded me of the ritual king/sacrifice in 'Dark Secrets Of Harvest Home' and others... pick the handsome young man, dote on him for a while, then kill him in a wheat field.

Jeff Allard said...

Thanks for all the comments everyone! Glad to see that Cabin was enjoyed by all who had a chance to see it.