Cabin in the Woods - Not Your Typical Horror Movie
Epic Joss Whedon revisited
Master of TV and film Joss Whedon takes horrors to new heights with a new spin on a traditional horror/slasher movie. If you've followed Whedon's exploits from Buffy: the Vampire Slayer, Dollhouse, Firefly and much more, you know that Wedon brings an extraordinary spin to every project he touches. The dialogue is humorous, ironic and poignant, the characters are likable and realistic and the graphics have evolved over time to become some of the iconic scenes we like to imagine. Whedon's imagination seems to have no bounds and as a life-long fan since the beginning days of Buffy, I've come to expect great things from this genius of television and film.
Cabin in the Woods certainly doesn't disappoint. True to form, Whedon takes the horror genre to new heights and his new take on horror in general as well as ambiguous blood, guts and gore typical of a slasher flick don't leave the audiences wanting. They do, however, leave the audience guessing. With a twist in true Truman Show form, this film goes beyond just your everyday slasher and adds an often-forgotten psychological aspect to the film that a lot of viewers didn't really see coming.
Like any good horror movie, Cabin begins with five college-age students going away for a weekend of debauchery. When they discover a creepy basement at their vacation home, the young adults are forced (while remaining unaware) to basically choose their fate - and a wide variety of monsters and creatures of nightmare are simply waiting for the chance to wreak havoc on the group. A choice is inevitably made, and several members of the group meet gruesome and spectacular ends.
Like any good horror movie, the virgin is slated to survive - until the typical pot-head starts uncovering the real horror of the cabin - that it's all a farce, and they're fodder for a reality show-like group of impartial controllers who want to save the world by offering periodic human sacrifices to an ancient god.
Chaos ensues as reality clashes with what's supposed to be happening. Monsters in waiting escape their cubes to destroy the building in horrific and thrilling fashion.
The moral of the story - stay a virgin - or at least pair up with a guy that's smart enough to figure out that someone's watching your every move - and broadcasting it onscreen. Beware the Merman!
I consider myself a horror movie aficionado. I ill watch almost everything, and I find myself bored to tears with the typical, repetitive plots, devices and gratuitous gore. That being said, I enjoy movies that surprise me. I love films that catch me off-guard, and take me to places that have not been imagined before - and that's one of the things that I truly loved about this film. Not only do I have a built-in love for Whedon because of his work on Buffy the Vampire Slayer (the series, not the horrible excuse for a movie) but I love horror movies that use imagination and don't try to spice up a dull, predictable plot by splashing enormous amounts of blood at the screen and therefore hoping the audience doesn't realize there's no plot at all. That's what this film does. It puts the characters in an epic "choose your own adventure" scenario, and gives them room to wiggle out of preconceived notions and ideas in a way that caught me completely by surprise.
If you're sick of the standard horror movie schtick, and you want more out of your favorite genre of fear, this movie is worth a look. It's not your typical horror film, which I would expect of a Whedon project, and yet it remains true to the horror genre form in new, exciting ways. It gives the hero survivors the option to save the world, gives you new and better monsters with every scene change and it changed my expectations of the horror genre. With this film now available on video, I look forward to new, better things from my horror flicks, and I hope that more directors take Whedon's lead and follow this new take on an old favorite and run with it.