Sunday, April 15, 2012

The Cabin in the Woods

It's much easier to review movies critics don't understand than ones they do. Professional movie critics make fantastic antagonists when they're wrong. When they're right, it just begs the question of why the rest of us should bother. Unfortunately, just like with Hunger Games, the critics "got" The Cabin in the Woods. Despite this, I do have a few thoughts.

The Cabin in the Woods is a solid little horror/comedy flick. It's a lot of fun in a campy sort of way. In addition, it's quite clever in framing and delivering its point.

As such, it's kind of an anomaly: a horror movie that's a critical darling (as evidenced by its impressive freshness rating). The ideas explored are perfect for people familiar with the genre, though possibly less so for die-hard fans who may be bothered by the fact it sides more with comedy than horror and cares more about being clever than being scary.

I should note this wasn't a problem for me. While I've seen a handful of horror films, it's the one genre where I prefer camp to more serious offerings. Ultimately, The Cabin in the Woods feels about as close to a horror movie made for me as is possible. I'm not sure that's a good thing, though, at least not for everyone. If you're looking for palpable scares and real dread, you're not going to find it here. While there's some gore and more than a few sequences designed to make you jump (including a title sequence that's nothing short of brilliant), you'll spend more time laughing than cringing.

As the title and premise suggest, there's a touch of Evil Dead 2 in this movie, minus a comically effective protagonist. Though, given the film's writers, there was a brief moment towards the finale when I half expected Buffy to break through a door and start dishing out some supernatural justice. Of course she didn't, but it's telling that such an ending wouldn't have felt out of place.

I enjoyed this one quite a bit, and I'm glad to see it's getting critical recognition. The box-office returns feel a bit low, but having seen the movie, that makes sense. This one's a little too timid to appeal to serious horror fans, but stills shows enough teeth to deserve its 'R' rating (i.e.: if you can't take an impaling or two, you won't enjoy this movie). That really doesn't leave a huge audience in the middle to make it a huge success.


Doug L said...

Completely agree, Erin....I kept saying "What the F is going on?" and that's a good thing. Completely original. Joss Whedon is a genius!

Curtis D Williams said...

Great film.Very refreshing