“Cabin in the Woods” is Horror-Comedy Gold!
Sometimes I have a very twisted sense of humor, especially when something terrifyingly serious instantly turns ludicrous and hysterical. Case in point: genius sharks are out to get Samuel L. Jackson and some other unfortunates in “Deep Blue Sea” but once everybody starts bickering, Samuel L. Jackson delivers the following inspirational speech to rally the troops, seen here. He’s so serious. They can beat this thing. They are a team! He knows that all they’ve got to do is stick together and then they’ll——NOM NOM NOM (goes the giant, genius shark). Hahah! Gets me every time!
But what if you could take that obnoxious moment and repeat it over and over again in a number of surprisingly different but equally as funny scenarios? Horror-Comedy gold, right? That’s exactly what you get with “Cabin in the Woods”!
Disclaimer: if you enjoy that clip from “Deep Blue Sea” for the same reasons I do, then stop reading this review now. I went into “Cabin in the Woods” as blind as can be and am so happy that I did. Just go see it! And avoid the spoilers below.
When I went into the theater, all I knew was that it was supposed to be scary, that Chris Hensworth (of Thor fame) was in it, that it’s been getting booming reviews and stellar RottenTomatoes ratings, and, quite simply, that I was utterly confused by this weird-ass image from the movie posters:
Like seriously? WTF is that? Some kind of floating haunted house Rubik’s cube? Anyway…
On one hand, the movie winds up playing up quite a few stereotypes that are oversimplified. Our hero is a virginal girl, Dana, who while not quite in-your-face-super-hot like her best friend (Jules), is nonetheless made more attractive by the simple fact that she is not a slut. But playing up the adorable, pale red-head look certainly helps. Jules is dating Thor (who while in mortal form here goes by Curt). Curt’s impossible jock-brainiac-nice-guy hybrid buddy is Holden. And then there’s Marty, the resident stoner (if the movie were actually bad, Marty’s lines would be the saving grace, but as it stands he only makes a good thing that much better). There’s an isolated cabin that the gang is partying at, owned by somebody’s cousin. When they find a basement full of Trinkets, that’s where things get dicey. After reading from a book in Latin (bad idea), a family full of torturous hick zombies comes after them. Sound familiar? It’s basically the plot of “Evil Dead” or “Dead Snow” or every low budget zombie movie ever. So this sounds kind of terrible so far, right?
* SPOILERS *
Wrong. Because there’s this entire side-story happening simultaneously. Behind the scenes are an army of office drones basically serving as “Gamemakers” for the entire story (only “Hunger Games” fans will understand the reference). They control everything from locks on doors to the release of pheromone gases. I kept praying to catch a glimpse of Seneca Crane’s beard! The only thing these Gamemakers don’t control is WHAT winds up killing the five people, because the basement has dozens upon dozens of Trinkets. A locket. A weird puzzle globe. A diary. And somewhere, in the depths of the “Gamemakers” facilities, are each monster, set to be automatically released depending on what Trinket is chosen. Diary = hick zombie family. Weird puzzle globe = giant deadpan buzz-saw face man. On and on for basically every single horror monster/villain ever imagined. It’s a ritual sacrifice, but the lamb “chooses” the knife.
I’ve already divulged too much. You probably still have a lot of questions. Why the contrived situation? Why even sacrifice the people? Why do they all have to be a stereotype? I won’t tell you, but I will say that what “Cabin in the Woods” becomes is a wickedly funny piece of meta-horror that pokes fun at the genre itself in a LOT of different ways. Normally I’m put-off by too much gore or too much blood, but “Cabin” kept me laughing so much that I didn’t care. I wasn’t disturbed (too much – the Japanese schoolgirls singing a banshee/demon into a peaceful frog will undoubtedly keep me up all night…but that is neither her nor there). I was thoroughly entertained throughout. If you’re the type of person that can laugh at witty, smart horror that isn’t afraid to not take itself seriously, then you will love “Cabin in the Woods” as much as I did.