The Cabin in the Woods (Unmarked Spoilers!)

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The Cabin in the Woods (Unmarked Spoilers!)

Post  laddical on Tue Apr 17, 2012 11:06 am

Since the movie is rather difficult to talk about without going into spoilers and katesti asked us nicely to stop taunting her in the "Now Playing" thread....

Here's a screen-cap of Sitterson in front of the infamous white board. As I mentioned in the other thread, I love that there's a distinction between "witches" and "sexy witches".

"Kevin" is probably the one name on there getting the most attention. The popular theory is that the name is an expy for "Jason", though I like to go a little afield on this one and say it's some kind of reference to Candace Flynn from Phineas and Ferb, who frequently hallucinates about a talking zebra that calls her "Kevin".

I think what I love most about this movie is the way the "Big Twist" is built up. There's a steady and obvious series of clues throughout the first two acts so that when the "higher purpose" of the ritual is revealed it doesn't seem to come out of nowhere or hinge on one or two extremely subtle hints that get flashbacked and highlighted and underscored as if to say, "You morons! You totally missed it!" Yes, M. Night, I'm looking at you.

I think it was io9's review that got negative towards the end because of the perceived hypocrisy of the commentary inherent in the setup. How we're meant to loathe the planners who party and drink while the images of Dana being attacked by the lake play out on the screens behind them. I guess I don't really have a counter to that. I just think I interpret the intended commentary a little differently. I don't see Hadley, Sitterson, and their team as representative of the audience - and thus that particular scene isn't meant as an admonishment of the audience for "enjoying" the suffering of the characters. I see the "project" as a group of filmmakers having a wrap party and celebrating a job well done - before everything goes to hell in the post-production process. I tend to fall in line with Nordling over at Ain't It Cool - the audience avatar in this movie is the Elder Gods, who want what they want exactly how they want it and when they don't get it they destroy what they have. In this case, the commentary isn't specifically about the audience and its relationship to horror films but the audience and its relationship to film in general.

Now, that may also be perceivable as hypocritical and condescending, but I also think its true in some sense. Consider how fans react to even the smallest divergence from details in casting - both the initial casting of Jennifer Lawrence not meeting their image of a more ethnic Katniss and the post-release racist brouhaha over "RUE IS BLACK! I can't feel any sympathy for her character now!" Granted, we don't actually destroy both the movie and the means to make *more* movies in our overreaction, but you can only stretch a metaphor so far. I think that's why I love the final shot of the movie - the eldritch hand completely obliterating "the cabin in the woods". It is the perfect summation of the movie and its "message", and if it hadn't been there, I might have retroactively not liked the movie as much as I had up to that point.
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Re: The Cabin in the Woods (Unmarked Spoilers!)

Post  killershrew on Tue Apr 17, 2012 11:42 am

I enjoy horror movies on both the visceral level and on the analytical level, so I halfway enjoyed this movie. The metatextual aspects of the plot were brilliant, and if I ever fulfill my dream of teaching a class on the psychology of horror films I'm going to show this. My only complaint is that it wasn't scary. I realize it wasn't supposed to be, and therefore my complaint isn't really valid. I don't know that it would have been possible to have it be really scary considering the larger context of the plot, so I understand why it wasn't scary -- but I was still disappointed in that aspect of things.

However, I completely disagree with the grouches behind me in the theater who were complaining that the movie was "stupid". I thought it was clever and thought-provoking, and it gets an enthusiastic thumbs-up from me with the caution that it is not a scary movie, and if you go into it knowing that, you'll enjoy it a lot more.
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Re: The Cabin in the Woods (Unmarked Spoilers!)

Post  Shalamar on Sun Apr 22, 2012 3:11 pm

I loved it. If the DVD has Joss Whedon commentary, I'm definitely buying it.

I can't pick a favorite moment, but if you held a gun to my head, it'd be "Yeah, I dismembered him with a trowel. So ... What have you been up to?". Or, possibly, "Make out with that moose."

Edited to add: how could I forget "He has a husband bulge"?
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Re: The Cabin in the Woods (Unmarked Spoilers!)

Post  laddical on Sun Apr 22, 2012 3:27 pm

I had never heard that particular euphemism before, but it's so Joss.

I think my favorite moment was probably the build up to Kurt's death. Of all of them, I thought that was the most effective at building up suspense.
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Re: The Cabin in the Woods (Unmarked Spoilers!)

Post  Shalamar on Sun Apr 22, 2012 4:10 pm

I know! Somehow, both my husband and I had forgotten about the barrier that killed the eagle in an earlier scene, and so help me, we were eagerly rooting for Curt to succeed in jumping the chasm on his bike.
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Re: The Cabin in the Woods (Unmarked Spoilers!)

Post  schwa on Sun Apr 22, 2012 6:22 pm

I hadn't forgotten about the eagle, so I was apprehensive as to how badly it was going to go for Curt.

I loved how the Japanese kids defeated their monster. And the part with all the monsters at once was inspired.

I wonder what monster would have been brought by the fortune teller machine.

And another view of the white board

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Re: The Cabin in the Woods (Unmarked Spoilers!)

Post  Raksha on Sun Apr 22, 2012 7:19 pm

Curt's was my favorite death! I hadn't forgotten about the barrier, so during the whole build up I was desperately trying to hold in giggles, because I knew what was coming.

Wait, I take that back. The merman was my favorite death. The way it came out of the smoke and "Oh, come on!" and all? Delightful!

schwa wrote:I loved how the Japanese kids defeated their monster.

Me too! My favorite part of that, though, was the guy going "Fuck you! Fuck you! Fuck you!" at the monitor and "How hard is it to kill 9-year-olds?!"


I saw an article over at IO9 about the visual companion that is coming out soon and it said that during the purge when all the various horrors were coming out of the elevators, there was a Reaver!
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Re: The Cabin in the Woods (Unmarked Spoilers!)

Post  Putli Bai on Sun Apr 22, 2012 9:33 pm

schwa wrote:I hadn't forgotten about the eagle, so I was apprehensive as to how badly it was going to go for Curt.

I loved how the Japanese kids defeated their monster. And the part with all the monsters at once was inspired.

I wonder what monster would have been brought by the fortune teller machine.

And another view of the white board

Deadites and an Angry Molesting Tree? Someone owns the Evil Dead box set.
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Re: The Cabin in the Woods (Unmarked Spoilers!)

Post  dionneshea on Sun Apr 22, 2012 9:34 pm

"The evil has been contained in the happy frog!" is maybe my favorite line from any movie ever. Oh, my God, I loved those Japanese kids.

I mostly loved the melee at the end. And I would have loved it if my mom hadn't spoiled me on the Sigourney Weaver cameo. My mom is the worst when it comes to things like that.
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Re: The Cabin in the Woods (Unmarked Spoilers!)

Post  laddical on Sun Apr 22, 2012 9:42 pm

Oh, my God, I loved those Japanese kids.

Yeah. It's a real shame they screwed over the world.

I kid, I kid. It was totally the Buenos Aires scenario's fault.

I don't think I want another movie, but if Joss wanted to let Dark Horse Comics publish an anthology series that details the other failed scenarios that we glimpsed or heard reference to, I'd be down with that.
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Re: The Cabin in the Woods (Unmarked Spoilers!)

Post  queenofdenile on Sun Apr 22, 2012 10:40 pm

I saw this on Friday. I loved it loved it loved it and I want to see it again so badly.

In terms of metaphor, I don't necessarily see the people in charge as the filmmakers and the ancient gods as the demanding audience. I see the programmers (or whatever you call them) as humanity and the ancient gods as humanity's basest, darkest urges. They're feeding their own urges even as they serve their gods. The programmers aren't just trying to do their job to save the world; they get a kick out of it, too. (Most tellingly, when Hadley starts to deliver a speech about feeling empathy for Dana, and then gets immediately distracted and cheerful again when the party's about to start.) That metaphor is a lot more compelling to me personally than the film being one meta commentary about an overdemanding audience. (And on a side note, the problem was not that Jennifer Lawrence was cast, but that women of color were completely excluded from the casting call.)

I cheered every time I saw a familiar Jossverse face and I literally flailed in my seat when Tom Lenk showed up as Ronald the Intern.

My audience was SO much fun, too. They cheered every time Marty said or did anything. And then we remembered that we were seeing a movie on 4/20, with an audience that was probably high, where one of the main characters was a stoner. So that might have had something to do with it. I wish I hadn't seen a promotional photograph of Fran Kranz spattered in blood so that his return would've been a surprise, but it was still great to see him come back.

I think one thing that set this apart from other horror movies is that I actually liked all of the characters and was sad for them when they died. I wasn't rooting for their annoying selves to get bumped off or anything. Curt and Jules' "I LEARNED FROM WATCHING YOU!" bit laid me out.
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Re: The Cabin in the Woods (Unmarked Spoilers!)

Post  Shalamar on Sun Apr 22, 2012 10:58 pm

Hee, yeah, I LOVED the merman. Be careful what you wish for.

How friggin' creepy was the Ballerina (otherwise known as the Sugarplum Fairy)? Shudder. And I, too, really wanted to see what the fortune telling machine would do.
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Re: The Cabin in the Woods (Unmarked Spoilers!)

Post  blixie on Sun Apr 22, 2012 11:33 pm

I literally flailed in my seat when Tom Lenk showed up as Ronald the Intern.

He's an intern. He doesn't get overtime. I really want to know what he was writing during the free for all. I also squeed over the Saw Head and the puzzle ball, because Pinhead is my most favorite horror movie monster, and I particularly like how the meta fits with that particular mythos, and your take on the metaphor. Pain and Pleasure indivisible!

Having said all that I didn't necessarily love this, and that's because the characters did still feel really thin and mostly just cogs in the ever so twisty witty plot machine, which might have been meta too, but was no more fun for it.

I did still think it managed to be creepy if not truly scary, hillbilly zombies will do that to me every time.



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Re: The Cabin in the Woods (Unmarked Spoilers!)

Post  TatersPrecious on Tue May 01, 2012 10:42 am

This movie was brilliant. I haven't laughed so hard in a long time. The one liners/dead pans/awkward moments kept coming. It still managed to have suspense and be slightly creepy too.

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Re: The Cabin in the Woods (Unmarked Spoilers!)

Post  rivki8699 on Sat May 05, 2012 6:48 pm

I just got back from seeing this - and I really enjoyed it. I'm a total lightweight when it comes to horror, so I will it admit that I found it scary, at least until they go down in the elevator. Seriously, I'm really afraid of zombies, all the rest of the stuff was fine.

There was so much awesome stuff though. I loved when Marty was like "when did Curt become such an alpha-dog? He's a sociology major, on full academic scholarship." And I loved the commentary about how far the puppeteers had to go to make the blonde dumb, and to make them split up instead of sticking together.
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Re: The Cabin in the Woods (Unmarked Spoilers!)

Post  Shalamar on Sun May 06, 2012 10:19 am

I remember seeing Curt tossing a football around as he was getting gas at the creepy gas station, and I was like "... the hell? Is he so much of a jock that he can't put the ball down for one second?". I realized later that that was probably part of the manipulation - we didn't see it, but the Powers That Be probably put the idea in his head.
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Re: The Cabin in the Woods (Unmarked Spoilers!)

Post  queenofdenile on Sun May 06, 2012 12:32 pm

"I don't think it knows about money." Hee. One of the most giggleworthy lines for me.
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Re: The Cabin in the Woods (Unmarked Spoilers!)

Post  Skyblade on Sun May 06, 2012 2:46 pm

When I saw it, I was like "Yeah, this is fun but I don't think it's quite as brilliant and as revelatory or clever as it thinks it is." But then I heard other people coming out of the theater being complaining "What the hell was that?!" and thinking "Wow, it was apparently much more clever than it should have been." Kind of the same thing with Cloverfield, althought this was much better.

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Re: The Cabin in the Woods (Unmarked Spoilers!)

Post  Shalamar on Sun May 06, 2012 7:33 pm

I think I'm going to have to incorporate "... am I still on speakerphone?" into my conversations a lot more often.
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Re: The Cabin in the Woods (Unmarked Spoilers!)

Post  Shalamar on Tue Sep 18, 2012 10:52 am

I pre-ordered this from Amazon and it was shipped yesterday. Eeee! I can't wait to see it again.
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Re: The Cabin in the Woods (Unmarked Spoilers!)

Post  inversed on Thu Sep 20, 2012 8:22 pm

I saw this last night and really enjoyed it. I didn't think it was scary at all (though some of that might be because I had to narrate the action for my fraidy-cat husband who often fled to the kitchen) but highly entertaining.

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Re: The Cabin in the Woods (Unmarked Spoilers!)

Post  Carrie Ann on Thu Sep 20, 2012 9:15 pm

We saw this at a third-run theater in July, and I had no idea that it was generally considered to be not very scary until I finally let myself read reviews afterward. I was stunned to find that most people felt like you did, inversed, because I was absolutely terrified. I don't know why it affected me like that. Let's blame being pregnant?
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Re: The Cabin in the Woods (Unmarked Spoilers!)

Post  Shalamar on Thu Sep 20, 2012 11:13 pm

I was simultaneously scared and laughing my arse off.
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Re: The Cabin in the Woods (Unmarked Spoilers!)

Post  queenofdenile on Thu Sep 20, 2012 11:47 pm

I was scared, but I am a known chicken when it comes to horror movies in general. Like, the Bluths made a special chicken dance just for me, chicken.

I don't have this in my possession yet but my birthday's in about two weeks, so my brother had better come through, is all I'm sayin'.
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Re: The Cabin in the Woods (Unmarked Spoilers!)

Post  Rhilin on Sun Sep 30, 2012 1:29 am

I saw it this just now, and while I'd like to see it again without having to pause every fifteen minutes because of a toddler, it's....it's basically just a slasher movie. It's an extremely funny slasher movie, essentially what many late entry slasher movies have tried to be (such as Jason X, Nightmare on Elm Street: We're Going Meta*, and Jason v. Freddy**), but there's still a lot of people dying hideously, just this time with meta commentary, and I just don't really like slasher movies. So yeah. Clever, but not really interesting enough that I get why it's "omg so amazing".



* = I want to say 5, but honestly, I don't care.
** = I know, I've seen a lot of slasher movies for someone who doesn't like them. That just comes from being interested in horror movies, okay?!

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