the cabin in the woods : love letter


Joss Whedon and Drew Goddard…  I love you.  This is a f#$cking masterpiece! Hopefully, just as you have inspired me to post this, you will inspire others to follow in your steps… to continue to define a higher standard for a genre that produces such utter trash at times. If this movie was a pivotal moment, and this movie helped awaken MORE beasts such as this, this fan won’t forget who helped made it happen.

I could never begin to summarize in such a way that could really convey the essence of this movie, but luckily the internet does.  I originally posted this in the IMDB forums but wanted to reiterate here in a way I could do it more justice.  Thank you anonymous ghost writer.




The two characters at the controls very much work as analogs for the filmmakers, even working as mouthpieces for Whedon and Goddard themselves. They are expected to perform a service, to set up the same rote scenarios, manipulate the people into expected roles so that certain expectations will be met. Its not just enough that these people be killed, they need to be “punished”. There needs to be sex, because as one man says to the other “We’re not the only one’s watching.” While that line certainly applies to other people at the company who wait with bated breath for nudity, the line is more referring to the elder gods downstairs. The elder gods for whom these people are turned into archetypes, led to perform certain actions and the brutally killed off one by one, are the audience, both within the film and on a less literal comentary level are the audience as in us. Additionally, as much as the people at the controls want something different (Merman!) they find themselves limited to the same old thing (Zombie Redneck torture family!).

Even as tired and rote as the whole thing may be, they also show how being too aware of the conventions, being too meta, causes the whole story to just fall apart, or in this case the in film world to end.

The film both comments on the problems of horror films, the restrictions placed upon them by fan expectations, how worn out and honestly nonsensical the tropes have become, but also at the same time showing how certain aspects are still necessary, and how tearing things down for the sake of tearing them down isn’t the same as coming up with something new.

That the film manages to say lot of this while still being hilarious, and at times completely chaotic and always entertaining is testament to the skill of everyone involved.


On one hand...

This is so much more than a satire…it’s a total deconstruction and rebuilding of the Horror genre. How many times have we seen the girl stab the killer, then drop the knife…and we always yell at the screen “WHY DID YOU DROP THE KNIFE???” We now know why she dropped the knife in all of those crappy films…because all of the weapons are rigged with a shocker and a guy watching the action pressed the button for it to shock her. That’s right…not only is this a great movie, it actually FIXES BAD MOVIES!!!! We now know why the characters split up when it makes no sense to do anything but stay together. We know why one of the girls is always horny and ready to take her clothes off. We know why the stoner dude is usually a total moron. Virtually every Horror film ever made takes place in the reality of this film, and so now we can rewatch old films and appreciate them in a way that none of the original creators ever imagined. Every Horror film you have ever seen was actually this organization appeasing the old gods and saving the world from destruction.


On the other hand…

This movie is a statement about horror. From the talk about how the Japanese have been doing it better than we have lately to the idea that the people watching are cheering on the deaths of characters who merely exist as stereotypes waiting to die. From the script writers placing these characters in cliche situations all the way to the movie’s ending literally destroying all Horror movies and flat out saying “Now, someone take a shot at something new!!!” It’s an examination and critique of Horror, and a call for more depth, better characterization, new ideas. It’s also a critique of Horror fandom, as it slams us for demanding gratuitous nudity and becoming desensitized to the point of cheering when people are tortured and killed. These cliche ridden horror films are being made for a reason…the gods (us, and our money) demand them. It’s time that we start to demand more, and thus the world of Horror is destroyed.