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Sunday, April 22, 2012

[7.50/10] The Cabin in the Woods (2012)


The Cabin in the Woods (2012)

Brief review: Don't get mislead by the intentionally cheesy title and the seemingly hackneyed premise, because "The Cabin in the Woods" is almost like nothing you have seen before. Even though the plot starts in a familiar fashion, even from the very beginning, the creators throw enough curve balls to make you wonder "What the heck is going on here?!". Later on, things are starting to clear up, but the shocks keep coming right until the end. The inventively puzzling script boldly reveals the 'hypothetical' secret behind the horror cliches, plus, Whedon and Goddard inject a solid dose of satire, humor and creativity in it to reach the wanted effect, which is redefining the genre. Though not as scary as expected, "The Cabin in the Woods" is edge-of-your-seat tense and thrilling pretty much most of the time, and has lots of gruesome, nasty imagery. The final 20 min are a complete bloodbath of mayhem and destruction, featuring arguably the goriest scenes since Peter Jackson's "Dead Alive". Sadly, the movie fails to impress execution-wise. Goddard's direction is competent and versatile enough, but it lacks the slickness that could have made it as innovative visually, as it's conceptually. While the practical effects are absolutely spot-on, the CGI work is below par by today's high standards, and at times, quite cheesy. The acting is great, with Kristen Connolly and Fran Kranz both being the stand-outs.

Overall summary: It's a way too overambitious and not particularly terrifying, and is further let down by some sub-par CGIs, but "The Cabin in the Woods" is a cliché-breaker that will knock your socks off with its originality, satirical inventiveness and twisted unpredictability.

26 comments:

Melissa Bradley said...

Whedon is a god and I cannot wait to see this. Fran Kranz is really a good character actor. And Whedon always takes care of his peeps when he can. I'm sure there'll be Whedon-verse alums in Avengers.

I hope they didn't do CGI monsters. Unless the thing is a giant beast like the Kracken, it's always best to go old school f/x. There are plenty of great monster makers out there.

This would have been much more in the 8-9 range had Whedon helmed the project instead of letting Goddard direct. But it seems Drew's first time out was good enough to earn a 7.5 from your high standards, which makes it damn fine rookie run. :)

George Beremov [Nebular] said...

Mel, he is. And he did an amazing job with the script. The problem is Goddard couldn't bring it to life properly. It lacks that extra special something for me.

I don't want to spoil anything for you, but... it actually has tons of CGI monsters. Cheesy-looking ones. The old school practical effects are always preferable, but they always cost more. :)

Well, all the silliness and poor CGIs aside, it was great. Go see it now. :)

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Knew you'd enjoy it! Yes, one twist more of the screw and it would've been perfect, but it was still the most original thing I've seen in a horror film in years. And not really horror, either. Not until the end.
And I didn't want to give anything away in my review, but the Dead Alive lawn mower scene came to mind while watching the ending of this film. And every time the elevator doors dinged, I laughed. So over the top!

George Beremov [Nebular] said...

Alex, I did, but to be honest, I expected even more. The 'end of the world' conclusion was a bit stupid, but at least it wasn't happy end-ish. :) I think it was a horror, just not particularly scary one.

I agree, it was highly original and super-inventive.

It did? Yay. So my comparison with Dead Alive makes sense? :)

Over-the-top indeed.

Ty said...

Good review! Thought this was a very smart horror movie. Lots of original ideas and homages.

George Beremov [Nebular] said...

Thanks, Ty!

Well, it could have been smarter, but it was still great.

Amy said...

Interesting review, I personally loved The Cabin in the Woods. I can see why some people have been disappointed because it's not a scary film (even for a horror wuss); I just loved how clever it is, and funny. It's not often I find myself laughing along with a gore fest.

Hans Jákup said...

I haven't seen this one yet, but it's on my "to see" list. I just hope it's as good as all you people say ;)

Nicole said...

I like a good plot twist, so long as the overall story is easy to follow, so thanks for writing this review. I didn't even know about Cabin in the Woods until about a week ago when I was looking at theater showtimes for Wrath of the Titans.

At first, I thought Cabin in the Woods might be a possible worthwhile movie to check out but I passed on it in favor of 'Wrath' because I'm not much of a horror movie fan, lol, so I didn't want to be watching a scary film all late into the night.

So if 'Cabin' is less horrifying and more suspense driven like you say, then I may give it a shot...that is IF one of my friends are willing to go watch it with me. Otherwise, it will be added to my ever-extending Netflix queue, lol.

The last horror movie I watched was "Them" and I liked that movie, so I guess if I can get through that film, then "Cabin in the Woods" shouldn't be so bad :)

~Nicole
Blog: The Madlab Post
@MadlabPost on Twitter

George Beremov [Nebular] said...

Amy, interesting in what way? :)
I didn't liked it as much as I thought I would, but I still enjoyed it. It could have been so much better. Yeah, the originality made up for the lack of scares.

Thanks for the interesting comment. :P

George Beremov [Nebular] said...

Hans, it should be on your must-see list, because Hollywood rarely makes such an original horror movies like this one. Don't expect to be blown away though.

George Beremov [Nebular] said...

Nicole, first of all, thanks for the lovely comment.

TCITW is barely a horror movie let alone scary one, so I think you'd survive it. :)

What did you think of Wrath of the Titans? Did you find my review helpful? :)

I'm one of the very few people who didn't like "Them". To me there was something missing, and I didn't find it that scary at all.

Maynard Morrissey said...

I refuse to read your review, but only because many people suggested not to read or watch anything about it before I haven't seen it :)

George Beremov [Nebular] said...

Harry, LOL.

I respect your decision, mate. I would have done the same if I were you. The less you know about it the better.

Plus, I'm sure that you'll read it and comment on it as soon as you watch the movie. ;)

Nicole said...

George,

I liked Wrath of the Titans for what it was...an action flick about ancient times and whatnot. While I wouldn't call it a spectacular movie, I did find it entertaining. Since I didn't see Clash of the Titans, however, I'm also not in a position to compare the two (First release vs. sequel) on whether Wrath' was a good step up from Clash' or if it was a let down compared to the first one.

I didn't really consider reviews when going to see Wrath of the Titans. I just knew that it was an action flick about the Gods and knew that Liam Neeson was in it, so I was sold on just those two factors, lol.

Maybe movies just scare me to easily...I mean, I have yet to fully watch "Se7en" with Morgan Freeman and Brad Pitt...and that's not even a horror movie! -- So, that's kinda what made "Them" an interesting film to be because I did not like the characters that much nor the subtitles but for some reason, I wanted them to survive and even after watching all of those scary moments, I ended up going "wow! this is my shit!" when the credits started rolling. For a movie that I wouldn't be likely to watch to then keep my interest, I'd say "Them" is A-ok with me :)

"Them" is kinda like "The Strangers in a way....not sure if you saw the latter film. It's American, unlike "Them," so it doesn't have subtitles at least, lol.

~Nicole
Blog: The Madlab Post
@MadlabPost on Twitter

George Beremov [Nebular] said...

Nicole, same case here. I liked it for what it was and I didn't have any regrets watching it on the big screen. It was worth it. Yes, the script was lame and full of cheesy lines such as "I'm doing it for my son. He means everything to me"... Blah blah blah, but the action was pretty exciting and the special effects were impressive.

Se7en is a masterpiece in my book. You should definitely watch the whole movie.

No offense, but you, Americans, are quite spoiled movies-wise, and you always complain when you have to see a subtitled foreign movie.
I speak the language so I don't really care about the subtitles, but here, in my country, EVERY SINGLE movie is being subtitled for the reason that not many people speak English. In fact, it's not that hard to read and watch at the same time, but I guess that's because you've used to it. :)

Michele (TheGirlWhoLovesHorror) said...

I agree with Melissa up there - this movie would have been way sweeter if Joss Whedon had directed it. I don't think it would have been scarier, necessarily, for one because I don't think it needs to be scary to be successful, but I think it would have looked a lot better - better camera angles and compositions, stuff like that.

Fran Kranz was a stand-out but how could you not mention Jenkins? I love him so much!!!

George Beremov [Nebular] said...

Michele, and I agree with both of you. :) I don't think iy would have been scarier either, but I'm sure it would have been more accomplished technically.

Jenkins wasn't that memorable to me. I mean in this particular movie.

Maurice Mitchell said...

Craig, I've heard good things, so I was nervous of your review. Good to know Whedon hasn't let us down again.

- Maurice Mitchell
The Geek Twins | Film Sketchr
@thegeektwins | @mauricem1972

George Beremov [Nebular] said...

Maurice, I guess you mean George, not Craig, as Craig certainly isn't my name. :)

Script-wise it was PERFECT. Execution-wise... not so much.

HorrO said...

Glad you got to see it before someone ruined it for you. There was a lot to like especially the blood bath you mentioned. Really enjoyed that. Yes, the CGI wasn't great, but I prefer to think they made it bad on purpose. In a strange way, it kind of fit the standard horror movie film element of the movie. I know, really probably just $, but I can dream. I wish everyone would just see the movie already so we could all just talk about it openly. Great review!!! Summer movies are almost here!

Alex Jowski said...

I am not at all a fan of Joss Whedon - but I did LOVE Cabin in the Woods despite a lot of its faults. Though it does try WAY too hard to change the whole genre the way "Scream" did instead of just trying to be a simple little satire/commentary about the genre.

George Beremov [Nebular] said...

HorrO, thankfully nobody ruined it for me. I'm not sure they did it on purpose though. Most likely they were out of cash. LOL. :) I liked it a lot, but it didn't blow me away.

George Beremov [Nebular] said...

Alex, I think Whedon is quite creative, and I actually like him.

I agree with you though. It could have been even better if it wasn't trying too hard.

Maynard Morrissey said...

Disappointment. Plot and concept are great, acting is fine - but I hated the movie's annoying smartassery and smugness. In terms of kick-ass horror parodies, I prefer Scream 1 & 2.

George Beremov [Nebular] said...

Maynard, I figured. ;)
Not a Scream fan, so I definitely prefer this one over Carpenter's Scream movies.