Cabin in the Woods (2012)

We finally have the dvd portion of our Netflix account activated again, so I’m getting to see the stuff that everyone’s been talking about for the last, oh, two years?

Cabin in the Woods legitimately impressed me. I’m always skeptical of the movies that everyone seems to love, because a lot of times they’re popular for reasons other than being a decent movie. It’s hard for me to write about a film that is as meta as this one is without giving away too many spoilers, so I will say that on one hand this is the stereotypical (deliberately) zombie film. Five young adults head out into the woods for a weekend, read from a mangled journal describing horrible things, and find themselves on the wrong end of a long dead family.

On the other hand the film takes all of the stereotypes and cliches that it’s been gleefully playing with the entire film and turns them upside down. I do love meta-horror when it’s done well and one of my requirements for ‘done well’ is that it can’t feel too much like it’s trying to make it clear where the meta lies. I shouldn’t be surprised that someone like Whedon is capable of showing the viewer the point of the tropes without it feeling like we’re being spoonfed something, or that he’s handwaving away concepts like the last girl.

I had a couple minor issues with the film, though nothing that I found too distracting. There was a minor storyline involving Japan that I didn’t really understand in relation to the main plot, or rather, how it was supposed to work the way that they had it set up, with the explanation that the Americans provided. The ending, while being wonderful, did slowly start to feel a lot like a Buffy special episode. And while it’s not the job for the film to pull every trope into itself, I would have liked to see a hero character either entered into the plot or more fully developed out of another character-why, yes, I am saying that I wanted someone to start yelling ‘Shop Smart, Shop S-Mart.’

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