I’ve probably mentioned it before, but I’m really not a fan of horror films. Not that I don’t enjoy the thrill of having my emotions manipulated or the thrill of juicy, juicy gore, but they really don’t make much sense. Many feature a malicious, sociopathic entity that murders people for the heck of it with no rhyme or reason to speak of. People just get murdered. That’s fine once, but to have an entire genre based on such basic tropes is uninteresting. Why is this evil so evil? What is their ultimate plan? Kelly got me to see Tucker & Dale Vs. Evil last year, kinda against my gut, and while it featured a clever twist on the formula, it just wasn’t inventive enough as a film. So what happens when you task the incredibly resourceful Joss Whedon (Buffy, Firefly, Dr. Horrible) with tackling the genre? You get genius.
This film really popped out of nowhere. Kelly had introduced it to me and it was then that I discovered that this has been languishing on a shelf for the past two years because of MGM’s financial issues (the other major film affected by this, Red Dawn, will be out in November). But this film doesn’t need to be some rare find to be special. Cabin In The Woods takes the horror genre from a completely new angle. From the beginning of the film, we cut between two different storylines: a group of kids preparing for a trip to a cousin’s new cabin and a pair of operators in a control room plastered with monitors and switches. As the kids start investigating the cabin, the operators begin manipulating them. The juxtaposition of these two stories lends to some conveniently hilarious comic relief when the tension may just be too much, but rest assured: this movie is still plenty freaky.
The end result is such a clever exploration of how horror films work that it’s going to be extremely difficult to see another lost-in-the-woods or similar film without thinking back to the rules this movie sets up. Like the Rubik’s Cube picture in the promotion above, The Cabin In The Woods seems to solve everything. It’s funny, it’s scary, it’s smart, it’s incredibly clever, and there’s simply nothing like it. Even if you’re not a fan of teens being meticulously murdered, or insane amounts of blood (and there is blood!) you’ll wish you could see it again right there and then.