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  1. #1
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    Spider-Man is offline Wallcrawler
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    "The Cabin in the Woods" Talkback (Spoilers)

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    It's not what you expect.


    The Cabin in the Woods

    Release Date: April 13, 2012

    Studio: Lionsgate

    Director: Drew Goddard

    Screenwriter: Joss Whedon, Drew Goddard

    Starring: Kristen Connolly, Chris Hemsworth, Anna Hutchison, Fran Kranz, Jesse Williams, Richard Jenkins, Bradley Whitford

    Plot Summary: Five friends go to a remote cabin in the woods. Bad things happen. If you think you know this story, think again. From fan favorites Joss Whedon and Drew Goddard comes "The Cabin in the Woods," a mind blowing horror film that turns the genre inside out.

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  2. #2
    Hanshotfirst1138's Avatar
    Hanshotfirst1138 is offline Singing drunken lullabies
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    "I can see by your eyes you must be lying, when you think I don't have a clue. Baby you're crazy if you think that you can fool me, because I've seen that movie too."
    Elton John

    "Maybe it's time we stop deconstructing things and start putting them back together."
    Alan Moore

    "Wise men talk because they have something to say. Fools talk because they have to say something."
    Plato

    And the geek shall inherit the earth. A combination of a pair the massive nerd-TV lords who've rapidly been overtaking Hollywood, Buffy the Vampire Slayer creator Joss Whedon and Cloverfield scribe Drew Godard from J.J. Abrams's Bad Robot school, Cabin the Woods arrives after much publicity. A film that's been sitting on a shelf for a couple of years following the fallout of MGM, Hollywood's once mighty megabucks studio, Cabin the Woods was finally picked up by Lionsgate, and is at least in a multiplex near you for horror fans ready for a blast-of-fun bloodbath. Cabin in the Woods isn't a bad film, and for a certain fanboy, there's undeniable fun to be had. But I for one can't help but feel I'm outgrowing Joss Whedon. This might've seemed brilliant when I was 16, but these days, I just don't think "clever" is enough.

    "You think you know the story?" So the poster proclaims, but of course, you at least partially do. A group of teens fitting into archetypes all head out for a secluded night where there's no cell phone reception, because apparently, even at this point in the 21st century, no one seems to grasp that getting off the grid to a place where you can't call for help is never a good idea. And the jock (Chris Hemsworth), the stoner (Fran Kranz), the dumb blonde (ex-Power Ranger Anna Hutchison), the nice guy (Jesse Williams), and the bookish virgin (well, as virginal as anyone nowadays-more in a minute) (sexy former soap star Kristen Connolly). They go to the cabin, ignoring the warnings of the weird old guy at the gas station who hasn't changed since The Hills Have Eyes, but beneath it, there's a massive organization reminiscent of the one in Buffy's fourth season, led by geek goddess Amy Acker, obviously designed to represent filmmakers, who manipulate the characters to make things play out as they want. In the basement, they find a variety of things from numerous horror subgenres, read out a mystic incantation in Latin, and bo and lehold, evil comes to kill.

    Presumably, the idea of seeing cliches slightly subverted while still giving the audience what they want is supposed to be clever, as things play out like Whedon's usual genre mishmashing with everyone dying until the survivors break into the compound and unleash hell in the most literal sense. The last half-hour is a gorehound's paradise, as Whedon and Godard unleash every horror fan's dream of bringing together all of the genre and monsters into an action-packed battle. It's fun, certainly. But is that enough? Film buffs and horror fans have see this all before under numerous titles: Evil Dead II, the woefully unappreciated Wes Craven's New Nightmare, Scream, I Know What You Did Last Summer, Freddy vs. Jason, Shaun of the Dead, Kill Bill, Fright Night, Funny Games, Army of Darkness, Targets, Peeping Tom, Behind the Mask, Shadow of the Vampire, Grindhouse, Videodrome, Body Double, Piranha, and countless others.

    Post-modernism has become films about films about films about films about films and culture is now eating itself. At its best, these films off some sort of commentary on the nature of storytelling or the importance of the tales (I'll plug Wes Craven's New Nightmare again; seriously, see it, it's brilliant, one of the most underrated films of the past 20 years.), or find some sort of social commentary like Shaun of the Dead (When Dana sneered "Me? A virgin?" and the Director quipped "We work with what we have." I was hoping for some commentary on changing social mores, but alas, it's just another smart-aleck remark.), or at least attempt to do something interesting. But the genre has now been played so thoroughly from every possible angle that Whedon is just adding a new coat of paint, and his brand of smart-ass glibness is less subversive than it is simply smug and annoying. Yes, Joss, I've heard that joke before. The wording is different, the coat of pain is different, but it's stil the same. Godard certainly has skill behind the camera, but he doesn't quite make it into anything more than a fanboy dream, and his hand isn't deft enough to balance his multiple tones and balls in the air and cohere completely. That's fine, certainly. Cabin in the Woods offers up plenty of fanboy fun to be had, but ultimately the film winds up a bit between the two stools, not quite smart enough to be subversive, and not straightforward enough to just be old-fashioned fun like Dog Soldiers. In the end, the movie's self-satisfied tone, affectionate and satirical, but never quite cutting, doesn't make the pieces into the whole I would have hoped for. Again, that's fine, fun is OK, but The Cabin in the Woods isn't as clever as it thinks. To Whedon and Godard, even the end of the world is just a big cosmic joke.
    Last edited by Hanshotfirst1138; 11-29-2012 at 09:53 AM.
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  3. #3
    Mandi-chan is offline Member
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    I'm just going to re-post what I posted on Tumblr (with one or two extra bits)...

    While I enjoyed it, it didn’t really impress me as much as I hoped it would. I’d honestly give it a 7 1/2 out of 10 stars. SPOILERS BELOW!!

    Spoiler:
    It was fun to watch, but it just didn’t live up to the hype to me. But then again, that seems to be an ongoing problem I’ve been having with Joss over the years.

    People gushed like crazy over Dr. Horrible and Dollhouse too. Meanwhile I found myself simply enjoying them, but feeling left out because I couldn’t bring myself to praise them like the other members of the Whedon fandom had been doing.

    To me, Joss got better and better with each new show-but once he reached the level of masterpiece (which was Firefly/Serenity IMHO, that is the only series of his that I have placed on “the pedestal of perfection”) he seemed to burn out a little. Nothing he has done since his space western graced our screens has lived up to his former accomplishments. Doesn’t make his post-Firefly/Serenity stuff bad, because I have enjoyed the projects he’s made since then…but to me, everything after that is just not as good as they could have been.

    “Cabin In The Woods” is yet another one of his projects that I feel has been overly gushed-over, and doesn’t quite live up to the hype it was given.

    Was it fun?

    Yes (…although I felt some of the humor fell flat at times. There were one or two jokes in the movie that were done in previous Joss projects already-expect they were done better in those shows and didn’t really work as well in this flick).

    Was it clever?

    Yes (I'll get into that more below).

    Was it good?

    Yes (despite my issues with it, I found it enjoyable).

    But it just wasn’t the perfect, mind-blowing masterpiece that some fans and critics have made it out to be. It’s flawed, it’s very predictable (in more than just the deliberate ways), and I honestly thought it was too short.

    I think that may have been my biggest beef about it actually. It was too short, and we didn’t really get a lot of time to get to know any of the teenagers that well.

    It really doesn’t take long for the five victims to be taken out; they’re killed off one after another in record time for this style of movie. A lot more of the focus seemed to be on the ones tormenting them (I think the movie could have been better if the scenes for the villains were cut short a bit, or if one or two of said scenes were cut altogether), which ended up being kind of pointless because none of the facility workers serve any sort of important purpose in the end anyway. One of the guys gets killed by his own running gag, while the other spits out a dying command to Dana before her and Marty run into the person who runs the place…and that person tells them the same thing coupled with an explanation as to why that needs to be done (which was clever, but I want to complain some more so I’ll get to that later).

    Plus the trailer really gives a lot away (which is probably another reason why it didn’t impress me as much as it could have).

    I really think it would have worked a lot better if they didn’t reveal any of the conspiracy-theory stuff in any of the teasers/trailers for starters. You go into the movie knowing there was something unusual going on besides the bloodbath we’re expecting to see, and that did kill the suspense a little for me.

    I can only imagine how my jaw would have dropped to the floor with shock and confusion when we first see that hawk crashing into the invisible wall that’s about to seal the unknowing group in the death-trap that’s awaiting them. How fun it would have been for me to realize that the odd opening with the facility workers, the weird spy guy watching the group on the rooftop, and the untimely death of the hawk were all connected with some unusual facility that was not only monitoring the soon-to-be-killed teenagers…but that they were setting up and controlling the entire thing!

    Plus, you know as soon as Marty “dies” that he’s not really dead. You know right off the bat that he somehow survived the ominous blood-gusher we see supposedly squirting out of him off-screen…because we see him in the teasers and trailer showing Dana the mysterious underground elevator. And we know she’s going to be fine for the very same reason! Because they gave it all away in those teasers/trailer!

    Seriously, if the people who put together those teasers and the trailer were a lot more cryptic about the whole thing-it would have added a lot to the movie, and I probably would have found it mind-blowing!

    Too bad too much was given away (I think I read that in a non-spoiler review for the movie too, that the teasers and trailer killed it because it gave away too much).

    I did love the clever bits though. I loved how they explained the American Horror Movie formula, and how it works. That it’s a ritual with a specific formula that this group has painstakingly set up (while allowing for a few moments where the victims are given opportunities to make their own choices regarding their fates) in order to appease the Old Ancient Ones that used to rule the world once upon a time-and that there were facilities like the one we saw set up all over the world in different countries for the very same purpose. As long as one of these facilities accomplishes the sacrifice(s) of their particular rituals…then the world is safe (we see in this movie that all the other countries failed, and that it was up to the American division to succeed-otherwise the world was doomed).

    I liked the unspoken implication that the events of movies like A Nightmare On Elm Street, Friday The Thirteenth, and the Evil Dead series all happened because of this ritual-and that they were all set up by this group.

    I liked seeing our surviving heroes going down into the facility, and then unleashing the locked up horrors used to kill their friends and so many others onto the people that set them up! I liked that moment of drama with Dana, when she considers killing Marty to save the world-only to be attacked by a werewolf before she could and being saved by the friend she was trying to kill anyway. I liked that because he refused to bow down to the formula, that the world was apparently going to end-and the moment he and Dana share just before the room they’re in begins to fall apart, and we see that giant hand erupt out of the ground underneath the cabin.


    Yeah, it didn’t make total sense and there were some plotholes. But overall it was fun, and I’m glad I got to see it (I didn’t regret buying the movie ticket, I thought it was spent wisely). It’s just not a movie I would want to buy let alone watch again, and I really don’t think it lives up to the hype it’s been given.
    Last edited by Mandi-chan; 12-23-2012 at 06:55 AM. Reason: noticed a grammer goof.
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  4. #4
    wonderfly's Avatar
    wonderfly is offline In the not too distant future
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    Just watched this last night. Loved it, I really enjoyed seeing all of the subhorror genres being available as a choice in the basement. I really would've liked seeing the merman story unfold.

    So are we supposed to believe all of those monsters were robots? And they don't have a fail-safe switch to shut them down?

    I also liked the references to Japan horror films (didn't they say the Japanese horror team was undefeated every year?)

  5. #5
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    Shawn Hopkins is offline TZ Member of the Year 2013
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    Quote Originally Posted by wonderfly View Post
    Just watched this last night. Loved it, I really enjoyed seeing all of the subhorror genres being available as a choice in the basement. I really would've liked seeing the merman story unfold.

    So are we supposed to believe all of those monsters were robots? And they don't have a fail-safe switch to shut them down?

    I also liked the references to Japan horror films (didn't they say the Japanese horror team was undefeated every year?)
    Robots? No, they're definitely real, IIRC it's made explicit in the movie that they come from the old world of horrors that existed before the pact was made with the satanic elder gods that keeps them from destroying the world as long as they get their ritualized entertainment. They're just specimens that the true satanic gods that rule the world allow to be kept in the cages as part of the pact.

    My favorite part of the movie is that it's basically a long episode of Scooby Doo.
    Here's the deal, I'm the best there is. I wake up in the morning and I urinate excellence. And nobody can hang with my stuff. I'm just a big hairy American winning machine.

    I'm very humble, too.

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