Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Movie Review: The Cabin in the Woods

No Sir, I didn't like it.

I remember hearing about how this movie was shelved for a few years after it was filmed. I remember that this was going to be this unique collaboration between Joss Whedon (Producer/Co-Writer/2nd Unit Director) and Drew Goddard (Director/Co-Writer) and it was written by them in a fine hotel suite over the course of three days give or take.

I remember reading on Ain't It Cool News the reactions of movie goers after they screened this at the 2011 Butt Numb-A-Thon. Almost universally it was praised and EVERYONE agreed to not share any info about the film lest it ruin it for you. So I kept away from spoilers, I kept away from clips and interviews. And then in March I accidentally watched a trailer for it while in the theater waiting for another movie to begin.....and they showed me all I needed to know to end up piecing this relatively dull, unfunny, unscary piece of tripe together.

And I hate when I can figure out a movie by the trailer.

I did go and watch it with my wife and two of her friends from work (so the company was good) because I was keeping a small piece of hope alive that this movie could work. I wasn't looking for a 'genre redefining movie' or 'a deconstruction of the horror genre' (which this movie was neither) I just wanted to get my $5.25 worth out of it. And I couldn't. Why? Because there is no surprise in this movie at all. This movie starts with giving you all the pieces of the puzzle within the first few minutes of the flick.

Oh look. Its the analogues for Joss Whedon and Drew Goddard....and Amy Acker.

The movie begins with these guys. And you get far too much info about what is going on and if you actually PAY ATTENTION to this opening sequence you already see the big picture. The emphasis on 'pay attention' was all mine as a lot of reviewers are crowing about how great this movie is and I guess they were just too geeked out over Joss, playing Draw Something on their smart phones or were asleep and missed this to realize this was a bad movie from the get go.

Hell it didn't even feel like a movie. It felt like one of the really bad Buffy or Angel episodes. It had an overwhelming TV quality to everything that I just couldn't figure out why it had that. It wasn't just the general look of the movie either but it was also the characters in the film too. Joss Whedon is generally known for one thing: he can craft a fun ensemble cast of main characters. I will concede to this as I generally enjoyed Buffy, Angel and Firefly. So I am at a loss that he and Drew managed to make some of the most bland people out there that we, the audience, were supposed to care about? Snarky dialogue doesn't make worthy characters and these folk were about as deep as a puddle in the desert.

Oh look its Thor! And a bunch of nobodies!

The biggest complaint I have with 'Cabin' is that it spoon feeds you everything and refuses to let the audience figure out anything for themselves. Just from paying attention to the scene involving the 'office betting board' as to what method the kids choose to be the bringer of their doom I knew by the end of the movie we were going to see all those monsters on screen and causing havoc. Listening to one of the controllers whine about how he wanted to see a merman and how his cohort referred to him as Aquaman lead me to the conclusion that he would be killed by said merman by the end. Was I wrong? Not at all.

You see this movie was written for people with severe cases of ADD. People that can't concentrate on one thing for more than seconds at a time. Just enough time for those folk to miss something and then be shocked when the 'payoff' happens. For example in the trailers for 'Cabin' you see a hawk gliding in the air as the RV is winding around a mountain road then SPLAT the hawk hits some kind of sci-fi future wall and dies. Cut to about an hour later or so you see Chris Hemsworth going to jump said gorge on a dirt bike to get help for the other two survivors (in the same spot the hawk bit it) and guess what? Splat. He, too, hits the wall and dies. Shocked the characters sure but the audience? To everyone in the theater that watched and was surprised by that shame on you! That was telegraphed and so was the entire movie.

So it comes down to this. I don't like movies that are supposedly written to be intelligent but are ungodly stupid and smug about it no less. This movie should have just embraced its total stupidity and ran with it instead of trying to be faux intellectual. I felt like this movie was trying to talk down at me for the entire showing and that is not a good feeling to be giving a viewer. But what do I know? Well I know what I like  and it sure as hell isn't 'The Cabin in the Woods'.


*Just as a side note, Juglar Josh wrote about the cult of Whedon on his blog right here, and I agree with him with regards to Joss. But I still enjoyed Firefly, Josh.

**Also I want to note this movie only came out after Joss got all the good buzz for doing The Avengers and after seeing Cabin.....I'm kinda scared for The Avengers.