Monday, April 16, 2012

Is Cabin in the Woods Over-hyped?

I do not typically like scary movies. I'm still haunted by Friday the 13th, which I saw on tape when I was about ten and VCRs were the new way to scare yourself senseless in the comfort of your own home. To this day, I can't look out a first floor window at night for fear that a crazed killer will jump up to scare me or, worse still, that he'll just be walking slowly through the yard, carrying an ax or some other instrument of death. This could be because I live in an old farmhouse in the middle of nowhere that would be a perfect setting for a horror movie. But we won't dwell on that right now or I will be up all night.

But the hype surrounding the Cabin in the Woods had me hooked. Typically, commercials for horror movies cause me to cover both my and my eight-year-old's eyes to make sure that none of the evil on the screen seeps in to our minds. But as I peeked out between my fingers at the preview for Cabin in the Woods, I caught a glimpse of Bradley Whitford. Smart, funny, former star of West Wing, Bradley Whitford. This must be a different type of horror movie, I thought. Bradley Whitford wouldn't just show up in some slasher film.

And then I kept hearing about the rave reviews--93 percent on Rotten Tomatoes, three stars from Ebert. Twitter was buzzing with the "unbelievable plot twists" and "so complex, much more than a horror flick." And, finally, "You think you know what's going on, but you're totally wrong." I am a sucker for twist endings. I am still hoping to one day watch the Empire Strikes Back with someone who doesn't know the truth about Luke Skywalker's lineage. This person will be difficult to find unless he drops down out of his own space ship or he is only two years old. I am currently grooming my 8-month-old for the position.

So my husband and I went on Saturday night. I was ready to be scared senseless. I wore an oversized hoodie so I could achieve my movie-going defensive position: hood up and forward, hands tucked into the sleeves, arms folded.

The theater was packed, mostly with college students and one random guy in front of us spoking a cigarette. Clearly, he thought he was cool. Who am I to disagree?

(No spoilers follow, but if you've seen the movie, you'll know what I'm talking about.)

So the was scary, but not that scary.

Since we were in on a plot twist from the beginning, the killing seemed somewhat remote compared to other horror movies. It was certainly smarter and funnier than any other slasher films, laugh out loud funny even. But seeing some of the action unfold on a screen that Bradley Whitford was watching made it seem more like a secret military operation than a bunch of crazed lunatics.

Because of the hype surrounding the plot twists and turns, I tried to stay one-step ahead. In the beginning of the movie, I made some assumptions about what was really going on. But believing these to be too obvious, I went one, sometimes, two steps farther trying to figure out what was going on. Then it ended where I thought it would, but I had some great ideas of where they could have taken it. Contact me for Cabin in the Woods 2, okay Joss and Drew? (I know what you might be thinking if you've seen the movie, but there is always a plan for a sequel.)

Another kill-joy moment came due to my husband. This guy can pick out any celebrity voice in about five words. When the voice of the director is first heard, he leaned over and said "That's yadda yadda." He, of course, told me the real name. And it was a great name. Although it didn't provide too much of a plot twist, it was like a nice little gift to movie goers.

Several minutes later, the person behind the voice was revealed in person. Half of the audience was
audibly shocked. The other half, those under 30, had no idea who she was. I'm sure they all googled her once they left the theater.

So it was good, but I still think it was overhyped.


  1. I'm a big Joss Whedon fan, and to me, it was classic Whedon - only without Nathan Fillion in a brown coat or Sarah Michelle Gellar with a sharpened stake. Really, it made me miss those characters even more, because it's the sort of movie where they might show up. Well, especially Buffy.

    I think it *was overhyped, but also a different twist on the typical remote cabin storyline. If you're a Whedon fan, go see it. If you're a fan of campy horror, go see it. If neither of those are your thing, probably not worth the cash outlay.

  2. Down here in Argentina, I missed all the hype--and now I want to see it!

  3. Oh, man, now I NEED to see this. Thanks for the review!