Finally, after years stuck in distribution limbo, The Cabin in the Woods gets a theatrical release, and it was worth the wait. Drew Goddard’s directorial debut, which he co-wrote with Joss Whedon, is everything a horror fan could want in a movie and more. Using the standard “group of friends visit a remote cabin and get more than they bargained for” setup, Goddard and Whedon deliver a brilliant ode to horror movies. Bryan and I could barely contain our geek-gasms.
ADAM: I’ve been jonesing for Cabin in the Woods since I heard about it in 2009, and after 3 years of waiting, it does not disappoint.Well, it didn’t disappoint me anyway.
BRYAN: Good. I was going to say, we call this a quibble, but if we didn’t agree on this one, I was going to punch you in the face
ADAM: So, you didn’t like it?… Wait, you did like it? I’m confused.
BRYAN: What? No, I fucking love this movie!
ADAM: Ok, good.
BRYAN: And we will try to discuss without spoiling, yes.
ADAM: Seriously, how do we talk about how great this movie is without spoiling something?
BRYAN: Well, that’s just it. I don’t think some of it is off-limits. There isn’t some Usual Suspects/Crying Game secret to keep. There’s just the same shit you wouldn’t normally talk about with any other movie. The plot is the plot after all. You just don’t need to say exactly what is happening and why. You’re nervous aren’t you?
ADAM: Idunno, let’s just be extra careful about tip-toeing through this minefield. It’ll help if we start with the obvious, I love the brilliant dissection of the generic “cabin in the woods” horror movie plot.
BRYAN: Of the horror genre, cabin types are the main focus but it’s much bigger than that.
ADAM: Yes, The Cabin in the Woods is essentially a horror fan’s treasure trove. Like Waxwork only better… a lot better. Though, I do love Waxwork.
BRYAN: It’s so much fun! I can’t stress how much fun this movie is.
ADAM: It’s so much fun that people who don’t traditionally like horror movies could probably enjoy it. It’s making fun of the genre in a way that only people who love the genre can.
BRYAN: I was enjoying the hell out of it, but started to feel rushed a little, like if the movie ended here, it would be a nice little fun thing, but then the shit hits the fan and it takes it to a whole other level of fantastic. So much goodness happens I was struggling with how to properly process it all. All I could do was smile.
ADAM: TOTALLY!!! I thought the same thing.
BRYAN: And what is so awesome about it. Is all the little winks and hints at that stuff were fine and could have been enough, but they do in fact take it to that next level.
ADAM: Yes, yes, a thousand times yes! The film gets to a point where it could have been a satisfying ending, and I was very happy with it, but then the filmmakers totally exceed my expectations. I only wish that happened more, especially when it comes to horror.
BRYAN: YES! It would go against the point of the movie, but I really want to see more cabins, with more scenarios, and in different countries. I want it so bad!
ADAM: I feel so geeky and fanboy-ish. It’s not okay. At least on top of exceeding my expectations, there’s so much going on in the background, I feel like I could watch the film over and over, discovering more each time.
BRYAN: I easily see this being something I play on repeat every Halloween.
ADAM: I really just want to watch it again right now. Then… on top of being a glorious horror phantasmagoria from great writers who love the genre, you’ve got this amazing cast.
BRYAN: They are pretty great. Even when they’re being generic, they’re great. That’s one thing too. If there wasn’t the whole meta control room aspect to the film, and it was a straight-up exercise in the slasher cabin genre, it would still be pretty cool. I mean, they make that stuff sort of terrible in a B-movie way, but it would still work as a straight story.
BRYAN: But it adds the one layer, and then it ratchets up, and up. Layer after layer. It’s very entertaining, but kind of genius in what it does and what it says about the genre and filmmaking.
ADAM: Well said.
BRYAN: We could just keep listing favorite moments. From the speaker phone to the cellar to the wolf head. Richard Jenkins continues to do no wrong, and had this come out when it should have, we all would have instantly understood why Hemsworth was cast as Thor. Dude’s a star.
ADAM: Just the opening itself, the first couple minutes with Bradley Whitford and Richard Jenkins… classic.
ADAM: Can every movie start with the two of them from now on?
BRYAN: Things this film made me think of: Evil Dead 2 (obviously), Truman Show, Cube, Shaun of the Dead, and Last Action Hero.
ADAM: Yeah, tack on Waxwork and I think I’m about the same.
BRYAN: I haven’t seen Waxwork, should I?
ADAM: That’s the only “problem” with The Cabin in the Woods, it kinda ruins Waxwork. Waxwork is nowhere near as good or as smart as The Cabin in the Woods. I love Waxwork (and I can even enjoy Waxwork 2), but after The Cabin in the Woods, Waxwork is more like a fanboy cutting together their favorite scenes from other movies.
BRYAN: Maybe I’ll check it out. Anyway, others have suggested The Cabin in the Woods is not scary enough. Like, good you’ve had your fun and games but you still need to be this other thing. Which is crap for two reasons: 1) It’s doing its own thing, and really going all in with it. 2) There are a few nice jump scares and plenty of gore. So what if it doesn’t keep you up at night.
ADAM: Saying The Cabin in the Woods isn’t scary enough is like saying Evil Dead 2 isn’t scary enough. It is what it is, and it’s great.
BRYAN: Can we just fast forward to the part where I own the blu-ray and have watched it a bunch of times?
ADAM: Yes, please. It’s playing at the little theater around the corner from me, so I foresee at least a few more in theater viewings in my immediate future. Grade: A
BRYAN: Yeah. Go see it and love it so I don’t have to go around punching you in the face. Not to mention that it does all of this awesome shit in 90-mins!!!!! Grade: A