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.