Stuff I Watch in October: The Cabin in the Woods (2012)

Happy October and welcome! All 31 days this month, I will be reviewing all the films I watch in the month of October. They’re mostly a selection of horror or suspense films in my own library or films and shows that have been recommended to me.

Please enjoy and leave a comment!

And if you missed any of our past reflections, take a look:

The Phantom of the Opera (1925)
Psycho (1960)
The Haunting (1963)
It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown (1966)
The Other (1972)
The Legend of Hell House (1973)
Young Frankenstein (1974)
The Rocky Horror Picture Show (1975)
Halloween (1978)
Alien (1979)
The Shining (1980)
Halloween II (1981)
The Evil Dead (1981)
Halloween III – Season of the Witch (1982)
Ghostbusters (1984)
Teen Wolf (1985)
Aliens (1986)
Big Trouble in Little China (1986)
Predator (1987)
The Monster Squad (1987)
The Witches of Eastwick (1987)
The Lost Boys (1987)
Evil Dead II: Dead By Dawn (1987)
Halloween 4: The Return of Michael Myers (1988)
They Live (1988)
Beetlejuice (1988)
Halloween 5: The Revenge of Michael Myers (1989)
Ghostbusters II (1989)
Predator 2 (1990)
The Addams Family (1991)
Alien 3 (1992)
Army of Darkness (1992)
The Nightmare Before Christmas (1993)
The Crow (1994)
Halloween: The Curse of Michael Myers (1995)
From Dusk Till Dawn (1996)
Scream (1996)
Alien: Resurrection (1997)
Scream 2 (1997)
Halloween H20: 20 Years Later (1998)
The Sixth Sense (1999)
What Lies Beneath (2000)
Scream 3 (2000)
28 Days Later (2002)
Bubba Ho-Tep (2002)
The Ring (2002)
Halloween: Resurrection (2002)
Identity (2003)
AVP: Alien vs Predator (2004)
Shaun of the Dead (2004)
Snakes on a Plane (2006)
Alien vs Predator: Requiem (2007)
Halloween (2007)
Grindhouse (2007)
Halloween II (2009)
Predators (2010)
Absentia (2011)
Prometheus (2012)

Our next film is…

WATCHING: The Cabin in the Woods (2012)

the cabin in the woods

DIRECTOR: Drew Goddard, who is usually a writer for such films as Cloverfield, World War Z, and The Martian. This was his first directorial adventure. He would go on to direct Bad Times at the El Royale.

WHAT IS IT?: When Scream came out in 1996 (and got an inordinate amount of sequels), I thought meta-horror had pretty much run its course. Yeah, we’d get films like Shaun of the Dead which were somewhat self-aware and mixed laughs with the horror, but it wasn’t the game of inside baseball Scream was.

Enter The Cabin in the Woods, a movie which PLAYS like it’s the next Evil Dead film — but forks over zombies instead of Deadites to do the dirty work. Still, the concept is very familiar: teens get killed in a cabin by monstrous beings. If only there wasn’t a top secret group working behind the scenes, controlling everything that happens…like the cabin, the fog, the weather, pheromones, and the monsters, just to name a few things.

But why? For what purpose? Is it for their own sadistic thrills? I mean, they run a gambling board, betting on everything from which monster gets summoned by the group of kids to who is next to bite it. Nah…there’s something else here at play that I won’t go into — but whether you’re down with that reveal is another thing.

The Cabin in the Woods

THE PLOT: Five college friends all take a vacation for the weekend to a remote cabin in the middle of the woods. At first, it’s all fun and games until the group is attacked by a a family of zombies…and that would normally be where the plot description of these types of films ends…but, in their struggle against the creatures, they discover that the cabin, the zombies, their entire struggle…is an illusion of sorts…and there’s a greater truth at play.

WHAT DID CRITICS THINK?: The film received raves from critics for being insanely clever. Several critics noticed that the humor and scares were well-balanced and that the exploration of horror tropes and conventions was done in an ingenious manner.

WHAT DID I THINK?: The script is written by Joss Whedon and Drew Goddard with Goddard directing. It’s fast-paced and snarky as well with a great cast of characters both on the surface (each is horror film character stereotype) and underground.

The only issue I have is with the uneven nature of the film. It’s definitely a dark comedy but this particular one relies on you actually “getting it” and being in on the joke. Otherwise, you may find it hard to laugh when things get REALLY gruesome and the gore and cruelty begins to take hold of things.

That said, I do like this film very much. I just don’t “love” it.

GRADE: B

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