Because so many people have been complaining about spoilers for this movie, I am going to warn you now that yes, my review will include the details of what happens in the movie. You can finish reading this paragraph, as there will be no spoilers, but if you read further, it’s your own fault. Maybe because I heard so much about spoilers, I had assumed there was some crazy insane twist ending that changes your opinion of the movie, but that never happened. I think people are just trying to keep all details of the movie secretive so that way you can watch the movie fresh, but with so many people talking about how amazing this movie was, I had my standards set pretty high. I’d like to watch this movie again once the internet chatter dies down to see if my opinion is any different. My spoiler free review is that I liked it, but didn’t love it, even though I really, really wanted to. Remember, I’m going to spoil everything, and it’s not to be a dick, it’s because I know people who want to know what happens in this movie but don’t want to see it. REMEMBER, SPOILERS, STOP READING IF YOU’RE GOING TO GET CRANKY.
Five college coeds are heading into the woods for a long weekend to get away from the pressures of college, similar to how plenty of other horror movies start. We learn that things aren’t quite as they seem, as we are also seeing some underground bunker where characters seem to be aware of the plans of this group of college kids. The audience starts to understand that this isn’t necessarily a movie just about these kids, but the story revolves just as much around the office workers. It turns out that these office workers are manipulating the events that these kids are going through, including the different supernatural elements that the college kids are encountering. Did that make sense? Think of it this way: the kids go exploring the creepy basement of the cabin, each person exploring some strange relic, while we see office workers placing bets on which relic will be chosen to summon a supernatural creature. In this case, one of the college kids reads a diary that summons zombies to attack the kids. These kids don’t know they’re part of some big illusion until it’s too late and some have been killed, but things do turn around when one of the college kids finds an elevator under the cabin. This elevator takes them down to the bunker where they see a whole bunch of other monsters, and when they realize they were part of some big hoax, decide to unleash all the monsters on everyone who works down there. The whole purpose of everything was that there are demon monster things that require ritual sacrifices so they won’t destroy the whole world, and each sacrifice had to fit the archetypes that are most commonly seen in horror films. Once this is discovered, the two remaining college kid sacrifices decide they don’t want to take part and would rather have the entire world get destroyed, so we see a giant demon hand come up from the underworld to smash the cabin, the camera, and the credits roll.
Could you have cast two better people to play cranky office employees than Richard Jenkins and Bradley Whitford?
It’s not often that I can accurately describe a movie by comparing it to other films, but I think I’ve nailed it this time. If Evil Dead and The Truman Show were to fuck each other, and then that baby grew up to have sex with The Monster Squad while H.P. Lovecraft watched, then you’d get The Cabin in the Woods. Yup, nailed it. These comparisons aren’t meant to take away from Cabin in the Woods, but rather, if you took all the horror/comedy elements from Evil Dead, and added in the idea of all the events in someone’s life being planned, then added in the feelings of fun and adventure of seeing your favorite horror movie icons in one movie, as well as the strange mythology about Cthulhu-like elder gods, there’s nothing to NOT like. I’m thinking that the reasons why I didn’t love the movie is because it did borrow so heavily from so many things I liked, but there weren’t too many things that felt new or original to me. DON’T GET ME WRONG, I’m not trying to say that the whole concept of this movie wasn’t refreshing to see for a horror movie with a wide theatrical release, because it was. It’s shocking to see something like this in theaters, considering how shitty most horror movies are. And considering this movie made less money opening weekend than the goddamned Three Stooges movie, this was clearly a movie that was made out of love for the genre rather than for financial gain.
This movie’s actually about a haunted mirror that makes you look like Ellie Kemper from The Office. For the record, the red-headed lady is Kristen Connolly. For the record.
I guess my concern with Cabin in the Woods is that this movie wasn’t scary to me, and I don’t feel comfortable giving my absolute best rating to something in the horror genre if it didn’t actually scare me. You might say that for a tribute to horror that is clever, violent, unique, and also pays tribute to the genre in countless ways, it’s impossible to be scary. You’d be wrong. As an example, when I saw Drag Me to Hell, I was fucking terrified. They chose their moments of when to emphasize the horror and when to emphasize the comedy to create some truly creepy moments. Instead, Cabin in the Woods relied more on surprise scares, of which there are probably three, and you were probably chuckling too hard to have those moments make an impact. Another example of a movie that blends “horror” with comedy was Tucker & Dale vs. Evil, but the reason that movie succeeds is because nothing about it is scary, it’s all comedy. It knows the genre that it’s mocking, and isn’t as dumb as parody like the Scary Movie franchise, which I think is why it can say that it blends horror elements with comedy. Maybe it’s just my own personal taste in what’s scary, not really being creeped out by jump scares or wanting a movie to rely on them, so maybe that’s why I can’t say I loved this movie. One thing that sucked was I really loved the ideas they brought about with the elder gods that lived underground and would have loved to see a movie explore that concept more. The Lovecraft-ian idea of everyone going about their normal lives and thinking everything is normal, only to realize there are giant monsters living underground that were allowing us to go about their business as long as there was an occasional sacrifice. And how did these people get their job? How did they get these kids to go to this cabin? How long have they been monitored? I guess these are just my own tiny, personal issues with the movie, but this is my own goddamned website where I give MY opinion, so no need to jump down my throat if you loved this movie. That’s awesome! I wanted to love it too! And oh yeah, the filmmakers did decide to end the world to completely eliminate the idea of a sequel, so I guess that was pretty awesome, too.
Wolfman Moon Scale