Here is how much I didn’t know about Cabin in the Woods before watching it this week: everything. Hahah. I didn’t know that Joss Whedon was involved, I didn’t know that most of the actors in it were in it, I didn’t know anything about the plot. I think the only think I knew about Cabin in the Woods was that Chis Hemsworth was in it, which is arguably the last thing that anyone would ever need to know about Cabin in the Woods. How do I have this job?! (And by “this job” I am referring to my job as leader of the Videogum Spooky Movie Club. My other job I know that I have because of The Secret.) Now I get why everyone likes this movie! Can you imagine my surprise when the first people I saw were Richard Jenkins and Bradley Whitford? “They got some good dads for this movie!” Hahah. That sounds like a joke, but it is pretty much what I thought. “How often are the dads going to be in this? Why did they get such good ones? Do they try to rescue the kids?” What an idiot. I mean, I just didn’t know anything about the movie. You can’t blame someone for not knowing anything about a movie that they haven’t seen, even if it is literally their job. I refuse to let you agree with me about how I am an idiot. LET’S TALK ABOUT THIS MOVIE!
So, Chis Hemsworth is a sweetheart jock with a cousin who has a cabin in the woods. (But, I guess he doesn’t? How did they trick him into thinking that his cousin had a cabin in the woods? Did they do it when Brock was at school?!) (That was a ricin/Breaking Bad theory reference non-joke.) (Did you laugh?) Kristen Connolly is from House of Cards and wants to bring books on her vacation in case she gets bored. Anna Hutchinson just dyed her hair blonde and wants to fix Kristen Connolly up with Jesse Williams, whose name is “Holden,” because of Holden Caulfield I have to assume. Jesse Williams is very handsome. Fran Kranz smokes pot out of a coffee cup in the car. They’re all packing up an RV and heading out to a cabin in the woods for a long weekend, and I am instantly jealous of their vacation even though I realize that this is a horror movie and that at least some of them are going to die in scary and violent ways. But, can you imagine? Having a friend with a cabin in the woods by a lake, and an RV that you can drive to it?! That sounds like a lot of fun! ME NEXT, ME NEXT!
But it isn’t long before you realize that the dads aren’t really dads, and that the kids aren’t really going on a fun, relaxing cabin trip. (Though, they do get to swim in a lake, which seems nice.) It is revealed in pieces that the men who we (ALL OF US) thought were dads are actually two key players in an organization formed to appease big ancient evil monsters with the routine sacrifice of specific horror movie archetypes, and what we’re watching is not only a horror movie, but a horror movie about the nature of other horror movies + about a government conspiracy, with another horror movie bundled inside of it! WAH-WAH-WEE-WAH!
We see how the dads are able to alter the moods and decisions of the players, explaining why they choose to split up rather than remain in the group, why they choose to go into the creepy basement, and why they choose to do it in the spooky woods. They manipulate the landscape, and alter players personalities in order to make them more like the archetypes they were chosen to portray. The dads are in charge, but report to someone only known as “the Director.” It’s very nudge-nudge, there is a lot of winking, and it is — FOR ME — almost all a bit too much. (Almost!)
What saves this movie from being such an exhausting meta drag (FOR ME) is how it is actually very fun. Hahah. Good save, Whedon and Goddard. CLOSE CALL, BUT GOOD SAVE. I wouldn’t say it was particularly scary — though, for a movie that is more about having fun with the nature of horror movies that it is about being a horror movie, there were some scary moments! — but it was exciting, and the timing of each piece of the dads reveal was done very well, and I liked the part where there was a lot of blood and bodies and it looked like The Shining:
One difficult part for me was that as soon as I learned that these guys had to die or else ancient evil monsters would rise and take over the world, I DEF wanted them to just die already. Hahaha. Die, come on! I don’t want to die, FRAN KRANZ! That sounds like a terrible outcome for me! The needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few, that’s just basic Spock stuff!
But, so: Yes. Good movie, fun movie, I had a lot of fun with it. All of the monsters were fun, I especially like Ballerina Teethface. Good choice for the movie club, everybody! What did you guys think about it? Did you like the part with the mirror? Did you love it? Were you too spooked? Not spooked enough? Let’s talk about it!
NEXT WEEK: John Carpenter’s The Thing! It isn’t available on Netflix, Hulu, or Amazon Prime streaming, so we’re all on our spooky owns for this one. (You can rent it on Amazon, though. And iTunes.)