I always wanted to try something like this. I was sitting around the house this evening, feeling pretty bored, and I had rented Joss Whedon’s Cabin in the Woods earlier in the day, so I thought, what the hell. The following is my unvarnished opinions on the film, posted as I watched it.
(Note: there will be spoilers. Of course, this movie’s like a year old, so if you haven’t seen it by now, you probably don’t really care anyway, but I thought warning you would be the polite thing to do. Unless you actually wanted the surprise of finding out if there’s spoilers in here, in which case, I’m sorry for spoiling that.)
What the hell was that? Ominous generic horror movie music and credits opening to, what, public domain Dante’s Inferno artwork with blood dripping on it? Is this an allegory or a horror movie? God, I hope its a horror movie and not some attempt by Joss Whedon to make a point. By the way, how pissed do you think the dude who did the original artwork for The Divine Comedy is that he wasn’t born in a time with copyright? That guy’d be a billionaire by now on residuals from third rate horror flicks alone.
Ok, so generic male receding hairline corporate dude was entirely too confident blowing off the concerns of the hot scientist babe. Something tells me dire consequences lie in wait. Something like, oh, I don’t know, every horror movie ever made.
A conversation between a smoking hot blonde in a skimpy sundress and a smoking hot redhead in her panties in the film’s first five minutes? Bravo, Mr. Whedon! He certainly knows his audience.
Hey, is that Thor? Yes, yes it is. I bet he uses a hammer at some point. Chris Hemsworth has brandished a hammer at some point in every film he’s ever been in. Seriously, Thor, The Avengers, Snow White and the Huntsman…or was that an axe? Actually, I don’t know if that’s true…Thor!
Holy shit! Did they do any merchandising for this film? Because I’m pretty sure that two-foot bong that collapses into a to-go coffee mug is the single most brilliant invention in the history of civilization! These things should be available in a store near everyone! Strategically placed between the Maxwell House and the Doritos, naturally.
So we’ve got the stock crew for a horror movie–the jock, the slutty blonde, the black guy, the stoner and the survivor girl–in the stock situation of having a party weekend at some relative’s isolated cabin. They’ve even had the stock ominous warnings of the backwards country dude on the way. This is pretty much Horror 101 so far. So either Joss Whedon just needed a paycheck and mailed it in, or he’s trying to be clever.
WTF! Did that bird just fly into a forcefield? Yup, clever it is.
Uhhh…ok. That was just a gag scene, right out of a Scary Movie spoof with the Harbinger. A speaker phone gag, at that. What is going on? We’ve got a serious cliched horror film being controlled and directed by two guys straight out of Airplane? Dammit! Whedon’s being clever. I’m not going to say this has totally gone off the rails, but it’s teetering right on the edge.
Alright, Whedon brought it back a bit with that scene. These corporate lookin’ guys are controlling things but only to a point. “If they don’t transgress, they can’t be punished.” That sounds like all kinda bad news for Scooby and the gang. But still, bad, bad choice to go with that speaker phone gag.
Oh, poor Dana! Talk about awful timing. After steeling herself up and taking the dare when Thor called her a pussy, probably thinking she’d have to make out with the wolf head like the blonde did or flash her tits or something, bam! The mysterious cellar door flies open for no reason and that becomes the obvious dare. Sucks for her! She’ll be alright, though. She’s the survivor girl.
See, this is good kinda clever. The basement filled with creepy ass stuff, I’m presuming all of it cursed. Sort of like a choose your own adventure, but with a horrifying death at the end of each option.
So not only are the corporate dudes running the show and spying on their every move, they’re making them act even more stereotypical that they already are. I’m not really sure what’s happening again. They’re answering to what or who exactly? And since when do creatures like that want their sacrifices delivered up as horror movies? Zombie redneck torture family? What happens if they fail? Can I put any more questions in this paragraph? Is that microwave popcorn done yet?
Alright, now we’re getting down to brass tacks! But, honestly, almost 45 minutes before someone gets brutally murdered in a horror movie? Slacking, Whedon. I love the bear trap on a chain, though. That’s got a place in my “shit I really hope to god I never encounter in real life” list.
Oh, paranoid nihilist stoner dude, we hardly knew ya. I had a momentary hope that super coffee cup bong was gonna save the day, but that damn redneck zombie just took it in stride. And right after he noticed the hidden cameras, too. At least he died knowing there really was someone watching him. Go gentle into that good night, paranoid nihilist stoner dude.
That bear trap on a chain makes a reappearance! It’s climbing up my list of horrific items I never wanna see with a bullet! And for an instant there, I thought Thor grabbed a hammer, but it was just a 2 x 4. He’ll get one before this is over and done though, just you wait…
The Japanese dropped the ball and now Kiko’s spirit will live on in the happy frog. Sounds nice.
He’s not going to do what I think he is? No, no, no! Thor…no! He did. Well, you could say he “hammer”-ed that force field. With his face. I get it! It’s a metaphysical sort of thing. Hemsworth didn’t wield a hammer in this film, he became the hammer. Streak saved. (Again, I don’t really know if he had a streak.)
And then there was one…survivor girl. Good to know that the death of the virgin is optional, though. I’ll keep that stored away in case I ever need to appease some ancient diety. I’m really not digging the puppet master corporate types side of this movie. The tone is off. Either the horror movie side is took heavy or the puppet master side is too light. They’re clashing in an unenjoyable way.
Damn right! Paranoid nihilist stoner dude lives! And he saved survivor girl by finally overcoming that horribly frightening bear trap on a chain! The corporate folks do seem a bit disturbed by this development, however.
This is awesome! Just total chaos, every horror movie monster you can imagine and then some just running totally amok! They evidently had a sizable line item for fake blood in the budget of this film. This totally makes up for making me wait half the movie to see somebody offed.
A murderous unicorn? Really? Eh…
Ladies and gentlemen, Sigourney Weaver! Conveniently here to explain everything they couldn’t be bothered to present through actual narrative storytelling. Hoo-rah!
Giant evil gods. Huh. Has anyone checked on Joss Whedon lately? How’s he doin’? Maybe somebody oughta give him a call just to say hello or send him a cookie bouquet. Jesus, that was a cynical ending! Fuck it, humanity deserves to die so let’s just fire up a joint and watch the world burn. Man, I thought I had a low opinion of the state of things, but that movie was just…dark. And not in a good way. That’s the kinda shit where I wouldn’t be totally shocked to find out whoever wrote it offed themselves later.
Overall, not a good movie. The main plot device was too clever for its own good, and Whedon setting two different tones (horror and almost comedy) between the two halves of the film just didn’t work. And that ending, wow. I’ve seen and enjoyed unhappy endings where the heroes fail and the world crumbles but that’s the first time I’ve ever seen the protagonists, the good guys of the film, just decide to let the world end even when they easily could have stopped it. It’s just too callous of a disregard of basic humanity. The choice was he can die or he can die and cause every soul on the planet’s death, too. Cardboard as they were, and even with stoner dude’s obvious nihilism (which, in and of itself, was pretty unrealistic) I just don’t believe either one of those characters as established would have made that choice.
This whole movie felt forced. The different tones were forced together, the horror movie within a horror movie element came off as a smug, look-how-clever-I-am device. The over-the-top humor seemed awkward and out of place for the most part, and I don’t buy the ending at all.
So, that’s it. Even though the movie sucked, this was kinda fun. And I actually made it all the way through without getting bored and bailing to go get some nachos.
Final Conclusion: Stay away. Stay far away.