Let me get this out of the way immediately… I’m going to have a hard time with this review. If I had seen The Cabin in the Woods when it came out in theaters before hearing so many people express their opinions that this may be the best film of the year, or their undying love of Joss Whedon, I may have enjoyed it much more on it’s own merits. Instead, I found myself critiquing those proclamations more so than the film itself. Totally unfair on my part… yet, if I am to be honest… I can’t help but see The Cabin in the Woods as the most overrated film I have seen in ages.
Yes, you read that correctly… I think this is incredibly overrated and more a cult of personality than a solid movie going experience… an exercise in “look how clever we are”… a genre flick with a few too many winks and nods that covers a lot of ground that has been trod upon many times over.
Now that I have that out of the way, I can admit that I very much enjoyed this movie. As a fan of the horror genre, I appreciated the films various homages to such movies as Hellraiser, The Evil Dead, Scream, and Cabin Fever… I got a kick out the various twists put on the well known tropes and how those cliches were used to throw us off the track to what was really going on and how that mystery slowly unravels and allows us to travel down a whole host of wrong turns. Very clever… which is my problem with this… feels a bit too clever for my tastes, with an ending that left a wee bad taste in my mouth.
The basic premise takes place in two locations; a group of five youngsters head into the woods to hang out in a cabin, which I believe may be the actual cabin from The Evil Dead, to party for the weekend, and a sterile facility with people in lab coats watching and manipulating what is going on in the cabin, as well as directing the five to it. Who these people are and what they are doing is what this film boils down to… what is going on in the cabin is what we are meant to relate to, the classic slasher flick, so well laid out in Scream, that I found the self awareness of this movie to be a tad too on the nose.
If you are a Whedon acolyte, I imagine you are already preparing to explain to me the various ways in which I don’t understand how he is subverting the genre… let me stop you now… I get it. I think the premise is a good one, and like I said, I did enjoy it. I believe I am reacting more to the notion that this is the best film of the year, and that is a statement I have heard from a host of people who’s opinions I respect and admire… I take no pleasure from my rather “meh” attitude towards The Cabin in the Woods, I wanted to be blown away. Unfortunately, expectations and what you get are rarely in line… and sadly, my expectation were far too elevated.
If you are a horror fan, definitely check this movie out, it is very entertaining and I got a kick out of trying to guess what the hell everything was really all about. I won’t go into any further detail because this film’s premise completely hinges on it’s twists, and spoiling those could easily ruin the entire experience.
My apologies for my rather middling review, but I have to be honest with you… otherwise, what’s the point?
Oh look, the stereotypical stoner, what a surprise,
Cornelius J. Blahg