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Monday, April 16, 2012

Cine Beaverhausen: The Cabin in the Woods

Tonight, I went to the theater in the hood to see The Cabin in the Woods. Welcome to film as virtual funhouse. I agree with the theory that we all have a desire to be scared in the dark; to gasp or even scream together and, then, to laugh at ourselves for being so collectively silly. Well, welcome to the movie as mass catharsis; maybe as elementary group therapy, too.

The cabin of this film's title is, of course, set out where no one can hear you scream. (Sometimes, I could use a place like that.) The movie is, in essence, of the haunted house sub-genre and it certainly gets around to hauling out plenty of scary monsters to do the haunting. Very deadly and violent ones at that.

When was the popular horror film reduced to the group-of-teens-get-slaughtered-one-by-one in grisly detail? Perhaps with John Carpenter's Halloween? Certainly by its imitator, Friday the 13th. Babies, believe Buddy B when he tells you that if these are "slasher" films, it's because what got slashed were the plot lines. And how can you be horrified when you're rooting for the next obnoxious young adult to get whacked? (Like Paris Hilton, for example, in House of Whacks... err, Wax!)

The Cabin in the Woods deconstructs the slasher film's blueprint, though the themes and Jungian archetypes for this type of horror movie are as old as our dark fairy tales from the Middle Ages and equally as moralistic.

This film is directed by Goddard. Not Jean Luc (Breathless, Alphaville). Drew (Buffy the Vampire Killer, Cloverfield). Goddard One was of the New Wave; Goddard Two's of the New Flave (of the Month, I mean).

Five young people enter the Dark Forest after getting a bad vibe en route by -- who else?  -- the creepy gas station attendant. It doesn't take long before they arrive at ye olde log cabin and it's "Don't go in the cellar!" followed by "Don't read that incantation!" followed by "Don't stand in front of that window!" ad nauseum.

The Cabin in the Woods is post-modernly, painfully aware of these cliches and sends them up with scares. It also sends in the clowns -- in the form of killer zombies. In fact, there's also a killer clown on hand! No monster-movie detail too remote for this movie it would seem.

The film begins with two male co-workers at the office coffee machine, shooting the breeze. But the mundane normalcy of this scene gives way to the increasingly bizarre. Ultimately, this storyline and that of the five young people in the cabin merge. What starts as a surreal concept ends as an excruciatingly ridiculous one, however.

By climax, I didn't care what happened because... well, it was all so stupid! To top it off, a famous screen actress, who seems to have seen better days vis-a-vis her participation in this mess, is dragged in, to make it all the more ridiculous and absurd. All I wanted, at this point, was that the film end and put me out of my misery. Is this a whole new type of horror? Fear that the film could drag on forever?

It's amazing how much mutilation and torture movie slasher-victims can endure and still carry on. They needn't bother, I tell you. And, hey, you know what would be really scary? Having to sit through this creature-feature a second time.

1 comment:

  1. I saw it over the weekend. Completely ridiculous and over-hyped!