Re: THE CABIN IN THE WOODS
I really think this movie deserved a higher rating by James. Especially for its bold audacity and exploration of new territory as a film. If it fails at the box office Cabin in the Woods will surely become a cult classic.
Cabin in the Woods is likely to be disliked mostly by those who can't find humour in the macabre.... but it's exactly its skill at doing this which makes Cabin such a pleasure for the horror fans its targeting. The horror genre is quite distinct in this way as many often either love it or hate it.
The more knowledge of horror movies you have, especially if your're a "horror geek", the more enjoyment you will get from Cabin in the Woods. Lots of the humour is overt if you're up to date on your horror movie knowledge, but a lot of it is also subtlety hidden in the dialogue that's easy to miss. I was taken aback over and over again at just how sharp the writing and homages to other horror movies were throughout the film (with Evil Dead obviously being most prevalent). In fact, Cabin is one of those rare movies I plan to rewatch again simply to catch all the horror movie references that were made. It really feels like a movie where you will find hidden depth after multiple viewings. For example:
Underground when all the different monsters are in display, countless monsters/scenes from other horror movies are referenced. The ones I noticed my first time: "The two little girls in the hallway from The Shining, Werewolves (American Werewolf in London/possibly Dogsoldiers), the killers from the Strangers, the snake from Anaconda, the monster from Lake Placid. These are just a few of them.
Furthermore, despite the humour this is one of those rare films that effectively combines humour with scary scenes that only a few movies like Evil Dead 2 have pulled off. To be frank, these scary moments are more "Boo!" moments than real horror dread (though that exists in the movie too), but as far as "boo!"/scary moments go a few of them are very effective in the context of how much comedy exists within the film.
Many criticizing the meta aspect of this film seem to overlook the effective quality of direction and moviemaking within this film. I found Cabin to be filled with very effectively produced scenes that enthrall viewers into certain feelings and states of mind. For example, some scenes I thought were put together well:
- The trance-like state induced as all the characters interact with different objects we later learn hold potential to kill them.
- Effective unexpected "boo" scares through the use of interrupting emotionally happy scenes with intense attacks (such as with the knife through the hand while the couple is having sex or with the knife through the guys head while driving in the caravan).
- The triumphant build up of expectations given to the atheletic character as he attempts a jump across the canyon that hilariously abrupts to a screeching halt.
- The downright unsettling juxtaposition of the technicians happily partying away while a girl on their monitors is in the midst of fighting for her life.
Those taking issue with certain logical/plot holes are sort of missing the point as this movie is more of a satire of the horror genre than a true attempt at making a purely realistic horror movie. When understanding that about this movie, Cabin's overall quality as a movie far surpasses other famous horror-critique movies such as Scream. Consequently, with an exception to potentially a better ending, and slight improvements to the opening, my objection to the three star rating by James is that I really don't know how a movie of this type could have been improved in a way to earn it four stars without sacrificing what it's attempting to do within the horror genre.
If this sounds like the type of movie you'll enjoy, then I recommend you go see it in a theatre where other horror fans will likely be in attendance. I think having the additional thrust of other horror fans in the audience laughing and appreciating the horror references with you improves the movie watching experience of this film considerably. It's almost, dare I say it, like the Rocky Horror Picture show in this respect.