Tuesday, November 4, 2014

The Cabin in the Woods

The Cabin in the Woods; horror/ satire/ grotesque, USA, 2012; D: Drew Goddard, S: Kristen Connolly, Franz Kranz, Chris Hemsworth, Anna Hutchison, Bradley Whitford, Richard Jenkins, Sigourney Weaver

Five students - Dana, Holden, Marty, Curt and Jules - drive off to spend a relaxing weekend in a cabin in the woods. During night, they find a basement underneath it and enter it, where they find a diary of a woman who was abused by her family a century ago. By reading out her Latin lines, they summon a bunch of zombies who attack the cabin. Marty, Curt and Jules are seemingly killed, while the rest find they cannot escape because a force field barrier is blocking their way out. When Holden is killed, Dana and the surviving Marty find a shaft that leads them to a TV studio beneath, which recorded and orchestrated all the killings. They meet the two main technicians there, Gary and Steve, and find out the ritual murders are performed to appease the sleeping demon gods beneath. Marty and Dana survive, but they thus trigger the demon gods to awake and attack humanity.

"The Truman Show" meets "Evil Dead" - Drew Goddard's feature length debut film, "The Cabin in the Woods" caused quite a stir and managed to reach cult status since some consider it among the better horror films of the 21st century. The first part of the story plays with the horror cliches in an inventive way, twisting them to add something new to their worn out repertoire or giving them an altogether ironic touch - for instance, while alone in the cabin at night, Dana chooses "dare" while playing the "truth or dare?" game. But just then, the door of the basement opens all by itself, leading to a dark place underneath. The five students want to send someone down there to explore it, and one of them decides to send precisely Dana because she chose "dare". The framing story of a TV reality show that is being used to control the events in the cabin and record them, is interesting and causes the viewers to guess the whole time what is going on, and gives the story a puzzle like structure, whereas the two main technicians in the studio, Gary and Steve (Whitford and Jenkins), are brilliant characters who cannot resist but to give a few cynical remarks at the whole situation, especially in the hilarious scene where one actor gives a religiously fundamnetalist rant over the phone, without knowing he is on speakerphone. The events manage to constitute a quality storyline, all until the disappointing finale - when such a clever concept was set up, such a lackluster resolution, where ideas and demons are crammed without any criteria or measure, almost as pure trash, is counterproductive and seems as if it was pulled out from someone's you know what. This would not have been so crucial had the story not placed all the emphasis on the finale that explains everything what was going on until it.



Christopher Sobieniak said...

Glad to see you didn't care for this one. I heard a podcast about it last year and was glad not to have seen it, though I'm not into these types of films at all.

Marin Mandir said...

Thank you for the link for the podcast, it was a very interesting hear.

This was actually a good film with a few inventive ideas, and we should give it credit for that, but the finale - where we find out "why" this was all happening - was plain banal, to say the least.