Monday, January 7, 2013

Fuck the Cabin in the Woods

So at the end of this film, an Elder God rises from the pit, destroying the cabin and everyone in it, and then it turns to the camera, and destroys it and the audience watching the film.
That was me, i am the Elder God, i have nothing but contempt for this film and the people that enjoy it, and i want to see them burn.

No really, not only is this the worst film of 2012 (which i'm just amazed something managed to be worse than MiB3), it's one of the worst films i've ever seen.

The best way i've come up with to describe this film is it's an ironic episode of Scooby Doo. Scooby Doo is only fun, only charming because of how sincere it is. The same is true of horror movies, the last thing the horror genre, or any genre needs is this self aware, cynical bullshit.

It's often toted that this movie is somehow a deconstruction of horror movies, however, my question is; How can you deconstruct something without even understanding it? Sure Cabin in the Woods points out that there are character archetypes in horror movies, and that everyone get murdered, but that's not deconstruction. It's just stating what the horror genre is, it's about as meaningful if i were to say "Everyone dies at the end of a Greek Tragedy"

The main influences on this film seem to be The Evil Dead, and The Texas Chainsaw Massacre. Hell, the main monsters of the film, The Buckner Family are described as "Zombie Torture Redneck Family" which is just combining the monsters from the two. The problem is, Goddard and Whedon seem to have completely misread these films, viewing them as comedies, or worse, films that deserved to be mocked.

A laugh a minute, i tell you what.

Let's talk about the Buckers for a bit. Now, they come out into the world like part of a gameshow, yet our meddling teens are terrified of these things, and the scenes are shot like conventional horror. There is however, no weight attached to any of this, never do you fear these redneck zombies, they're just gross looking and dumb. And there's nothing particularity funny about them either, they're just killing the kids. So what is the tone? When people think of Evil Dead, they're most likely really thinking of Evil Dead II, which is a mix of comedy and horror. But the thing is, it never forgets it's a horror movie, and it's very sincere in both the jokes and the gross. The original Evil Dead is a straight up horror movie, the only thing funny about it is Bruce Campbell's acting. That's part of why Evil Dead II works so well, Sam Raimi realized what he had with Bruce's charmingly bad acting.  Cabin is uninteresting horror until those behind the cameras think they've won. There's a "joke" where the one guy is talking about how he feels for the Virgin, but then fuck her, booze! This is the detached irony i'm talking about, "Oh how deeply I care, NOT!" It's fucking juvenile. Anyway, during the wrap party, we see our heroine getting the tar beaten out of her like a cartoon character. And i ask "Why?" It's far too over the top to be horrific or to fear for her, and we already get the Crew are uncaring assholes, so it doesn't add to that. It's just more unfunny schlock.

Another really weird thing about the Buckners is that the film goes out of its way to tell us that they're different from other zombies. The woman didn't win the pool because she bet on vanilla zombies, not torture redneck zombies. So the movie is telling us that monsters in movies are different. But then there's the purge scene. Shaggy and the Virgin release all of the terrible monsters unto the compound. And we see that the film makers understand nothing about the symbolism of these creatures, they're all treated exactly the same. So despite what the movie told us, it's showing us that yes, zombies and torture redneck zombies are in fact the same. We see a bat rip some dudes head off, then we see a unicorn impale someone (ugh). It's the same senseless violence with every monster. The worst offender is probably the Angry Molesting Tree. For fuck sake. i get it, a girl was raped by the forest in Evil Dead, but what is wrong with you that you'd concieve of making it into the cutesy joke? Angry "Molesting" Tree. It also shows the movies reluctance to go into horror, the unpleasant. Rape isn't funny you see. Nothing worse than a horror movie that's afraid to be, well, horrific.

The closest to horror this film ever gets.
The merman is another problem with the tone in this film, one of the two main guys watching over the teens really wants to see the mermen, he's disappointed that no one ever picks the conch. Well during the purge, guess what monster is coming right for him? Of course this movie being what it is bungles the joke and he's disappointed to see it, we get a sad trombone "Oh come on!" When really, he should have been elated to see it, his dream is finally coming true, the merman in action. He knew he was dead at this point, would he preferred to have been eaten by the giant snake?

i suppose more than ironic Scooby Doo this makes the movie TV-Tropes: The Movie. It's not about anything, it's just data to collate. Look at this nonsense. An index of all the monsters, stat cards of their origins and attributes. Not a word on what they mean, because in this film they're just a name on whiteboard.

Then symbolism, the hierarchy of the film all falls apart at the end. So we have the kids, they're the actors, we've got cameras everywhere and the Crew behind them, directing things, doing the special effects, essentially writing it. Then we've got Sigourney Weaver as the Director, she's in charge, get it? And what bizarre commentary that the director is a unseen and non-influential force behind a movie until things go wrong. Then there's the Elder Gods, you know, me giving you the middle finger. The Director claims they're going through this horrorshow to appeal to these gods, so one would think they're the audience, this vicious cycle of cliche stories will continue as long as we demand them. Well,  firstly i'm annoyed anyone thinks that horror movies are anyway lacking in creativity or originality. And secondly the Four Temperaments is something really weird to rage against. This isn't cliches in horror movies, this is basic human story telling that Cabin seems to have a problem with. Anyway, as mentioned at the beginning of the review, after the kids fail to appease the Elder Gods, they break free, first destroying the kids and the cabin, and then breaking the fourth wall, and coming out for the audience. So, The Audience Will Eat Itself? i imagine the film is trying to say, "Hey guys, only you can prevent bad movies." But the decision of using the audience surrogate in the film to deliver that is beyond me.

This isn't the worst film i've ever seen because it fails at being either a horror or comedy, it's not even trash because it fails to say anything interesting about either genre. What i've really got against Cabin is its lack of sincerity. Take the scene with the cute little Japanese girls defeating the demon, "Fuck you!" the crew member impotently screams. This the ideology of the movie, sincerity and happiness are things to be met with contempt. If the movie is saying only we can prevent bad movies, it doesn't give us an idea as to what a good movie would be. The kids at the end, they destroy the world because they can't think of anything better, they can't turn the evil into a cute animal. If they had actually joined with the monsters (the Cenobites looked sympathetic) and done something new, something with meaning, it might have been an interesting movie. But no, fuck the world, let's get high. Once you stop being a teenager, you should have grown out of the "edginess" required to tell the totality of history of humanity to suck it.

No Donny, these men are nihilists.

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