Monday, August 27, 2012

CABIN IN THE WOODS (2012) movie review

Cabin in the Woods, The (2012) (1st viewing) d. Goddard, Drew

I know, I know, every Cabin review starts off with “can’t say too much for fear of spoiling the surprises” and I will honor that agreement.  What I can say is that as an entertaining deconstruction of horror films, you’d be hard pressed to find a more compelling example of “intellectual popcorn.”  Director Goddard co-wrote the clever script with producer Joss Whedon as a response to the failure of American studios to yield anything but torture porn and torturous remakes (appropriating the intellectual properties of superior foreign efforts or capitalizing on name recognition from the 70s/80s genre pool) and the duo’s witty dialogue is the sharpest tool in their box.  Which is not to dismiss the pic’s florid production design or its capable cast of victims and antagonists or the plentiful splatter, all of which suit the turn admirably.  

But I cannot deny leaving the cinema feeling slightly unfulfilled and it may just be a matter of personal taste; while I certainly enjoyed the tweaking of genre conventions, especially by those clearly in the know, at the end of the day I wished for genuine terror, horror or revulsion.  Instead, Goddard and Whedon play at and around it, point up the ridiculousness of established tropes, but never deliver an game-changing twist of the knife themselves. 

It’s all good and fine to say there’s something wrong with the state of affairs, but this is not news to the proud and faithful genre fan.  What we want is to be shown the way to something new, something better… a desire that is left unquenched.  Not to say I wasn’t entertained, but like many a tasty Chinese meal, I was eyeballing the menu after the fortune cookies had come and gone, a place in my stomach still left wanting.

1 comment:

  1. Relax, doc, it's okay if you didn't think this one was very good. Funny, every individual component is superlative—the fine cast (Richard Fucking Jenkins!), the amusing pseudoscientific trappings, the Twilight Zone–ey twists and turns, the grandiose (CG-looking) CG FX—and there's no question they threw a shitload of money at the screen.

    But it's also smug and full of itself and hollow, and nobody involved seems terribly involved with the possible exception of the CG crew screaming LOOK AT OUR BADASS CGI over and over. And at the end, my first thought was fuck, I bet you could've made 27 Martyrses for what they wasted on that big-budget Product.

    Worth watching to admire how much time the creators frittered away mapping out the mindgame aspect, maybe, but overall just not very enjoyable or satisfying at all.

    C'mon, doc, it's okay to say it: This movie sucked.