Ian's Movie Reviews
Short Reviews of Movies, Board Games, and Other Stuff

Cabin in the Woods

I like to review movies. I like to critique them after I see them. but it sort of feels like Joss Whedon and crew looked at me and said “So you like to review movies huh? Yeah? Well good luck with this one!”

Cabin in the Woods really is a tough film to review. It racked my mind, and afterwards I was left not really sure what to make of it. After much mulling, this is where I believe I was left. On a pure entertainment level, I enjoyed it but didn’t find it completely satisfying. However, on an appreciation level, I have to admire what this film set out to do and how well it accomplished this goal.

To sum it up, this movie is basically one big metaphor. Its not really a horror film, its an analogy for how horror films are made in a way that Scream can only have dreamed of doing. And as such, it really is great. It brilliantly encompasses the character archetypes, their irrational decisions, and the insatiable hunger of the mainstream audience for the same old crap. In this sense it is a very solid construction.

As straight-up entertainment however,its hit and miss. The “horror” sequences where the young adults visit the titular cabin are juxtaposed with some laboratory scenes which star Bradley Whitford (from my favourite TV series The West Wing) and Richard Jenkins. These scenes are downright hilarious and a great sense of fun.

The cabin stuff on the other hand is sort of a victim of the movie’s own goals. For one, the characters are hard to latch onto, since they are so stereotypical. However, they’re supposed to be stereotypical, but its still tough to reconcile. As well, once the “big bad” turns out to be zombies, I groaned since there really is nothing more unoriginal than zombies in horror films. But again, that’s the point. Its speaking to mainstream audience’s inexplicable desire for more things zombie, no matter how bland and overdone they are.

I’m not going to declare this one of the best films of the year. I can’t, since I just never completely went for the ride. But I certainly won’t be admonishing anyone else for declaring one of the best, since I did find it to be a very interesting meta-study of both the horror genre and the film industry in general.

8 Responses to “Cabin in the Woods”

  1. Well put. I’m with you. I felt as though this movie’s “metaphor” outweighed its actual movie… and it just wasn’t quite clever enough of a statement to justify that. It had its share of really really fun moments (when all hell breaks loose in the basement), but overall I shook out right about where you did, for right about the same reasons.

    Nice review Ian!!

    • Yeah, after watching it I actually downloaded your podcast of it with Tank. I was about to message you and get mad for not going into it very much, but then you did with the spoiler free discussion at the end.

      • Yeahhhhh… you cant really have that discussion without spoilers, you know? LOL.

        And as I recall, I think I went off quite a bit! 😀 Heh. So are we still on the same page, more or less, or no?

      • More or less, though you seemed overly concerned that it wasn’t more of a horror film. I was more on Tank’ side with that one.

  2. I shake out on this pretty close to you, though for a different reason. For me, I really dug the film, in large part because I liked seeing the mythology unfold. However once it was fully revealed in the last five minutes, I felt really underwhelmed. Not enough to completely ruin the film, but it did hinder my enjoyment.

    Good review.

  3. “I am never gonna see a merman, ever.”

    Thisi is certainly one of my top films of the year and think it was better than The Avengers.

    In fact, it might be the top film of the year seeing as all the others (Prometheus, THe Dark Knight Rises etc…) have been pretty much total disappointments.

  4. Good review Ian. Didn’t love it like everybody else, but was definitely a fun enough thrill-ride that had me laughing, tense, and a bit scared at times too.

  5. The ending kicks ass that’s for sure.

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