The Cabin in the Woods

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When five friends planed a vacation, the last thing they expected was an undead clan of pain loving zombies.

I’m not a big fan of cabins, especially those in the woods, see, get it, a clever pun on the title…(sidebar: this is why you shouldn’t try and write jokes with whiskey nearby, yes, the undead like the drink too but that’s a topic for another day). No, but in all seriousness, well as serious as I can be unless discussing Paranormal Activity or that god awful I Am Legend movie, I really do hate deep wood cabins. Not because of ghosts or monsters, those things I don’t mind, no, it’s because of bears. I fucking hate bears, all bears, even the Care Bears, and what are the deep woods full of, that’s right, bears, lots and lots of bears, I have personally counted and there are millions of the damn things ready to tear a person (living or dead) to shreds at any given time. You go ahead and head out there if you want, just don’t blame me when your last words are “Fuck, I’m being eaten by a big fucking bear”. Just saying.

Our film of the day begins in a very interesting way; it begins with something more out of Office Space than a horror flick. A bunch of office workers are getting ready for something, what we aren’t quite sure of yet, but for all the suspension, at least these people have a great sense of humor; I know I’d work with them (despite their mysteriously sinister goals). After they get settled in we switch location to a small Midwestern town (I’m guessing, it looked Midwestern I think) and are introduced to our five vict…I mean main characters. They’re all very excited about their upcoming trip to a cabin in the deep of, well you know, I think the title covered it. A short trip later (and one creepy as hell gas station attendant later) the group arrive to what looks eerily similar to the cabin from Evil Dead. As usually happens during a camping trip, drinks are passed around and the party begins, but it’s not too long into the festivities before the group notices the “spooky old basement”. Because dark basements full of creepy objects are always worth checking out (no sarcasm intended, they most certainly are always cool as hell), the party goers head down where one finds and reads from a journal, awaking an undead family intent on murdering every single one of them in the process. As if this weren’t enough, pieces of a larger puzzle seem to be falling into place as our office workers from the beginning (two in particular, Hadley and Sitterson) seem to be monitoring, and in some cases even controlling, the events surrounding our party goers. In order to survive the night, our heroes are going to have to not only defeat the zombified Buckner Family but discover the secrets of the cabin.

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{Our group of young fodder…}

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{For this}

There was one main reason I wanted to check this movie out, Joss Whedon. I thought the film sounded pretty good and the previews made it look like it might be cool, but all in all it kind of just seemed like yet another big budget horror flick with lots of money to throw around and very little substance, so it just didn’t interest me. That changed when I noticed “co-written by Joss Whedon”, sorry, but I’ve gotta lot of undead love for the man. Sure Buffy the Vampire Slayer may not have aged very well, let me rephrase, as I left my teenage years the show’s impact wore off, just couldn’t get into anymore, and he may have been the catalyst that gave us Alien Resurrection but there is one thing that will always redeem him…Firefly (this includes the film wrap up, Serenity). You gotta understand, I was one of those fan boys that very nearly threw his television away when I found out it was being canceled. Now, that I’ve seen The Cabin in the Woods I can add that up as another total win for him (as well as co-writer Drew Goddard). Let’s just say I am very glad I watched it.

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{Giving people nerdgasms since 2002}

It was a lot of fun trying to guess where the story was going to go, what the whole point of the office types setting these kids up was all about. They don’t much hide the fact that Hadley and Sitterson are manipulating the five vacationers after their initial introduction in the very beginning, but they don’t let you know exactly what it is they’re doing. I kept finding myself coming up with scenario after scenario, trying to figure out what the true purpose of the cabin was. I liked that kind of suspension, not the typical type of suspension such as one might find in a psychological thriller, but a different kind that kept you guessing. It made it such an enjoyable watching experience.

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{Like the suspense of whether or not she’s going to kiss the wolf’s head, spoiler, she does}

The effects I thought were done well…for the most part. The makeup is top notch and the practical effects they used were amazing, but the CGI was a bit lacking. I don’t think the CGI was terrible, just that it could have been better. Thankfully, they only seemed to be using CGI when it was absolutely necessary, all the other effects were practical effects. While I wish the CGI had been a little better, I was extremely impressed with the other effects and think the makeup department should be lauded for their amazing work. The Buckner family (the undead pain lovers who torment our five protagonists) looked great, the deaths were beautiful (yeah, I’m a little sick in the head, especially considering I laughed my ass off at a certain death involving a dirt bike), and a few of the other surprise characters who torment our group are perfect. As far as the makeup and practical effects, there’s nothing I can complain about.

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{Copious amounts of blood surrounding various monsters is always a good thing}

Now let me get to my favorite thing about The Cabin in the Woods, Hadley and Sitterson, the office types controlling the cabin (supposedly representing the writers of the film Joss Whedon and Drew Goddard). I like the other characters and although they’re the typical college kids you see in many horror flicks (the jock, the bad girl, the nice guy, the good girl, and the stoner), they fit seamlessly here, though there was an almost Scooby Doo like quality to them. The film jumps between what’s going on in the cabin and the office workers controlling the situation. I liked it when they were focused on the cabin but I loved it when they were focused on the office. I thought the characters were so interesting, not just Hadley and Sitterson (though they were my favorites) but the few others in the office that get a bit of camera time. In the midst of all the horror that’s tearing apart the cabin, most of the office workers just joke around and generally have a good time, even placing bets on who’s going to be killed by what. It almost seemed like a normal office, no one likes the boss, everyone is a little cynical, and clowning around is the only way they stay sane. People are dying in horrific ways, facing the nightmare of their lives and yet the office is business as usual. It added a comedic level to an otherwise serious horror flick.

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{I would so hang out with these guys}

A few more things and then I’m done…promise. First, the betting at the office I mentioned above, the bets are placed on a large whiteboard, when you watch the movie take a moment to look at the names on the board, you should recognize more than a few. Second, a little later in the movie you’ll see the surprise characters I was talking about earlier and there’s a lot of them, again, take a moment to check them all out because you should recognize a few of them as well (as an example, for a brief moment you can see the special zombie types from the video game Left for Dead but those are not the only ones you should know, I don’t want to give anymore away). Lastly, well, the last one is kind of a spoiler since it pertains to the end of the movie, but it was one of the better endings to a film I’ve ever seen. Since it’s a spoiler and not everyone is going to want to know, I’ll tack it on after the movie info I always put at the end, that way if you don’t want to read it, you don’t have to…and people tell me I’m not a considerate zombie.

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{You can probably see a few of the names on the whiteboard but not the monsters in their cubes and every one of those cubes contains a monster of some sort}

All in all, Cabin in the Woods is one of the best horror flicks I’ve seen. If I were you, I wouldn’t miss out on it.

 

The Undead Review

 

Directed By: Drew Goddard

Starring: Kristen Connolly (The Bay, Ex-Girlfriends), Chris Hemsworth (Thor, Snow White and the Huntsman), and Fran Kranz (The Village, Wieners)

Released By: Lionsgate and Mutant Enemy

Release Type: Theatrical Release

Release Year: 2012

MPAA Rating: Rated R

 

 

Spoiler Alert

Read at your own caution

You still here

Than here goes

The ending to The Cabin in the Woods was seriously an awesome ending. I’ll sum it up for you, the cabin is set up as a sacrificial place to appease age old gods, if at least four out of the five aren’t killed the gods will become angry and destroy the world, only three die by the end so the gods become angry and in the last scene we are treated to is a giant house sized fiery hand rising from the earth and smashing the ground around it, the end…of everything. That’s right, this movie ends by letting us know the old gods are about to destroy the entire world and that’s why I liked it so much. Sure, other movies have let the bad guys win but they don’t usually go onto to destroy the world, but what makes it even better is technically, the bad guys didn’t win. The real villains aren’t the old god, the old gods simply are what they are, no, the real villains are the office workers sacrificing people to them. Every one of them is already dead by the end of the movie and two of our heroes have survived but their survival comes at the cost of the entire planet. It was a very different type of ending and watching that hand rise up before it cut to black made it an ending that won’t be forgotten. Kudos to Whedon and Goddard.

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{The beginning of the end}

About The Undead Review

When I was alive I was an asshole and after I died remained pretty much the same, if not a little worse. You’d think becoming a member of the walking dead would mellow a person out, no more worrying about awkward small talk with people, no more having to be politically correct, and the entire world is your upright, bipedal buffet. Don’t get me wrong, it’s fun as hell to be a zombie, just somewhat irritating at times, especially those times you have to watch a lame movie or read a lame book. Thankfully, when I am forced to watch these films or read those books, I’ve got places like The Undead Review to bitch and moan to my heart’s content. {When he’s not devouring the living or sinking his teeth into a good film The Undead Review (Andy Taylor) spends his time writing his own stories or hunting down the paranormal. Oh, and did we mention his blind dog once saved the world?)
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