“I can get you there. Getting back, that’s your concern”
Poltergeist, House on Haunted Hill, The Grudge and The Shining: these are all widely respected films that sit within the haunted house lore of horror in cinema. When I say that Cabin in the Woods is different is like saying that having chocolate flavoured ice-cream for the first time is different.
Cabin in the Woods, it seems, is almost as if it’s less a movie and more a critique of a genre as opposed to an actual film because it feels as though throughout the movie Godard and Whedon prefer for you to be consciously thinking about what would be happening in the stereotypical film of this niche genre and watch what I can only expect those two wonderful men would say to each other in a discussion about what’s going on in the film while sharing a tub of popcorn.
What makes this film so entrancing, especially to fans of the horror genre, is how it toys with it all. To say that something is amiss with the way that this particular horror filled weekend with nature comes about is an understatement. It’s actually set up, ingeniously, from the opening scene of the film which focuses on what it is that ends up being the cause for these five young adults’ horrific time together and it’s played so well that I almost feel bad for hinting that it exists in the film.
In so many film that reside in this setting I find it so easy to ask the question, “why?” and be left with a slew of incomprehensible answers from fans trying as hard as possible to explain. Some of the best theological and psychological explanations for what films like this are trying to tell us as a society about ourselves are what really drives my interest in the genre, and that’s what makes this film interesting, because it’s delving into that topic a lot more than it is creating another film that tries to mask those points by just merely handing us faceless characters to watch die horrendous deaths. By the time we arrive at the end of the movie we’re so invested in what the creators of the film have to say about the horror setting that I no longer care about the ludicrous nature of the horror film anymore.
The film’s bigger picture discussion keeps me interested and the movie’s B-film horror nature keeps me gushing at what it can do with so little. I would love to use this as a golden standard for how a lower budget can show in sub-par visuals and at the same time not matter due to wonderfully interesting storytelling.