7/10 on IMDb, 91% on Rotten Tomatoes, and 3 out of 4 on Ebert…… and I hate it. The Cabin in the Woods is divisive and is either consider a clever game changer or as I would call it…. Crap. The Cabin in the Woods initially appears to be a standard affair: 5 troupes go to a spooky location and must survive some creature, ghost, monster or as this movie would call it…. who cares? Except this film is self-aware so it turns the formula into a shallow, ego stroking satire.
I would describe The Cabin in the Woods as the “Well, actually” movie because that’s the response any criticism of this movie will get. All the characters straight up suck, “Well, actually that’s intentional because they’re supposed to be bland cliché characters because satire” sure but you don’t remember anyone’s name, now do you? The movie even has a plot device gas that is supposed to explain why these characters act so stereo-typically, but the characters are two dimensional before then.
Then a high percentage of this movie is doing the worst offenses of horror semantics: jump scares, excessive gore, sex appeal, etc. but it’s doing it ironically so its clever and smart. Doing stuff that you know is shit but doing it anyway doesn’t resolve you from the fact that it’s shit. There’s a ton of ass-pulls in the film in terms of characters surviving things they shouldn’t but “well, actually blah blah horror”.
The movie is just references to the genre and other movies and yay, congrats you’re smart because you know that, huzzah. Spooky clown, well I know that’s a reference to It. Don’t have sex in the middle of the woods that gets you killed lol. Cabin in the Woods appears to hate the vapid nature of the horror genre, but it offers nothing more than ridicule. These movies are formulaic and utterly ridiculous but that is just such an easy assessment to make and The Cabin in the Woods is literally as shallow as just that “horror clichés bad, horror clichés stupid” and is just as guilty of them without any nuance or exploration.
I think it’s extremely valid to say you enjoyed this film for the clusterfuck ending, it is certainly wild and does make a point on the absurdity of the genre and the appeal of gratuitous destruction but at the same time I felt that it was a giant middle finger to the audience. For having any investment in its characters, any desire for resolution, or any intrigue in the film’s commentary it makes you feel stupid for wanting to leave with anything to care about this film.
The film lacks any real declamatory statements on the genre or have an overall message on the purpose or fandom for horror. It’s just a film that says people are stupid for liking movies with shallow characters, tons of blood and gore, formulaic/troupe filled plots, and lacking substance; with a film that has shallow characters, tons of blood and gore, formulaic/troupe filled plots and lacking substance. It insults me for wanting an enjoyable horror romp, and for wanting to indulge in a though provoking film addressing the state of genre and its unique relationship with its audience.
So, with that fuck you! Please comment with your best Well actually responses, I won’t read any comment that doesn’t start with it. Tune in for tomorrow’s spook, I await your return.