February 9, 2013

A self-proclaimed hater of horror watching Cabin In The Woods

I’m not a big fan of horror movies, and I don’t watch all that many of them. I am not the target audience for Cabin In The Woods. There was so much talk about the film when it came out that I didn’t want to pass it up. I had to know what was so special about it.

Cabin In The Woods is based on a premise. If you buy into that premise it could be a very rewarding film. If you do not, there isn’t much there for you. I don’t think it is a binary “love it or hate it” type movie. I definitely fell somewhere in the middle. While it offers a fresh (or at least meta) take on the horror genre, I'm not sure it was enough to make it worthwhile for me to see it.

It starts out like any other horror film, setting up how the standard cast of college coeds are going to find themselves in a secluded wooded area. However, early on we find out there are other people pulling the strings. The rest of the film we are left to figure out what the heck is actually going on.

There are parts that are legitimately great. There is a speakerphone gag early on that is awesome. However, the tone is not maintained throughout. In fact, the very nature of the film requires that the tone is all over the place. The different characters in the film have a vastly different perception of what is going on. As the omniscient viewer we see it all going down from both sides. For me it was unable to function as a genuine horror film, and felt like it was merely going through the paces in that aspect. I don’t know if there was a larger message to be conveyed in the narrative or if it was just there to point out the irony of why we enjoy scary movies, but in the end it felt… pointless.

I guess we go back to this premise. Cabin In The Woods is a high concept film when compared to any other horror film. There are actually things to think about and digest… sort of. If you go in expecting a horror movie, then I’m not sure how you will feel about what you are given.

I’m not sure what I went in expecting. Maybe a “twist” movie. It could still be considered a “twist” movie, but it is laid out in a way that doesn’t maximize a twist reveal. I knew this was going to be an interesting take on a scary movie… and it was. Instead of trying to figure out who the killer is you are posed with a much different mystery that is more intriguing. However, everything that happened in the film felt pointless until we get to see what is actually going on. Luckily the entire film is only 90 minutes long, but the first 50 of that felt wasted. I didn’t care about the characters, but I don’t think I was supposed to. By the end you are left feeling like they are the most selfish people in the world. Definitely an interesting turn as they are the “victims” the entire film.

Cabin In The Woods offers more to the avid horror fans than it does to casual viewers like me. The more cliche scary movies you’ve watched, the more you will be able to appreciate what this film is doing. Ultimately, I just wanted to know how the story would end, and I’m not sure I’m satisfied with what I got. The horror fan will take more joy in going through the paces of the first hour. For me, I couldn't get to the end soon enough, and when it arrived it was a "hmmm" more than a "wow". People who love Cabin In The Woods will undoubtedly say I totally didn't get it... and I wouldn't argue with them.

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