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Not Just Another Dead Teenager Movie April 17, 2012

Posted by bobv451 in death, fantasy, movies, movies & TV, sci-fi, science fiction, sense of wonder.

Cabin in the Woods is certainly more than that. I saw the trailer and thought it had some small, itty-bitty twist. Wrongo. I’m not going to spoil anything here, so read on, stalwart souls.

Joss Whedon has taken a lot of ideas from his other series and mixed them together here. There’s some Dollhouse and definitely some Buffy tossed in with Cube and any number of dead teenager movies. By that I mean the predictable cast of characters being knocked off one by one. “We’re safer if we stay together, so let’s split up so the machete-wielding maniac in the hockey mask can kill us one by one.” That plot has been used repeatedly. Only Whedon tells us why in this movie, and it makes sense.

Other than the nifty ending which is not the one you’d expect anywhere along the way (and the scene where a guy is impaled by a unicorn–or maybe the flesh eating merman who has a blood blowhole in the middle of his back), Whedon makes use of every trope imaginable. But he explains them so they are reasonable and makes fun of them and has some nifty characters.

What impressed me was the technique in the movie. Every time you are sure the characters are out of danger or know what’s going on, Whedon ups the ante. More death, more blood, unexpected twists. But I sorta wish, along with a character in the movie, there’d been more of the flesh eating merman. That’s a critter not seen before. Whedon is a master of pacing and playing on the “shock factor” (which means you jump, even if you know the scare scene is coming up–for me, that was the way I went through Jaws. Predictable scare scenes and they were still enough to make me yelp.). What makes Cabin different is the mixing of genres. It’s a dead teenager movie with the blonde slut, jock, geek, stoner and virgin, but they fight back. They are meant to be pawns and rise above the chessboard. But it is also an sf movie. And a horror movie. And the final scene is something else entirely.

The movie was caught up in the MGM bankruptcy so spent two years on the shelf. Glad it escaped.

I am still leery about The Avengers. Too many heroes spoil the broth. After seeing this one, though, Whedon might surprise me pleasantly there, too.



1. bobv451 - April 20, 2012

Thanks to D Gary for pointing out the typo. I know better (I’ve submitted stuff for Whedon’s consideration and am positive I didn’t typo then!)

I will burn a couple joss sticks in penance.

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