Chances are, you’ve had a dose or two of Joss Whedon flavored awesome sauce. Maybe you had some drizzled over “the Avengers”, or perhaps you had a side dish of “Firefly”. Or maybe you’re old school, and have been free-basing Whedon since he was a writer on “Roseanne”.
Regardless, the man is a National Treasure in many geek circles. His trademark penchant for snappy dialogue and clever pacing have made many a clever hour of television, but his climb to Cinematic Major-Domo status has been pretty rocky. Sure, “the Avengers” raked in millions faster than Russell Crow can eat a bucket of cheesecake, but it hasn’t always been that easy.
Take, for example, Cabin in the Woods. Filmed in 2009 and completed in 2010, financial issues kept the film in limbo for over two years, finally seeing release in Spring of 2012. As far as I’m concerned, that delay may have been the best thing to happen to this new-classic in the horror genre.
Here are 10 fantastic reasons for you to load up the RV with some friends and visit Cabin in the Woods.
10: The Clichés
Horror movies are made of clichés. You have to have your heroes, your victims, and your monsters. As Wes Craven’s Scream movies pointed out so well, these clichés have certain rules that they have to follow: Kids having sex always get killed, the virgin survives, etcetera. Cabin in the Woods acknowledges those clichés, kicks them in the warblies, and packs them off to visit Aunt Agnes in Tulupa.
9: The Kids
Take a group of horny college kids, throw them on a road trip to a desolate locale, and you’ve got an instant horror movie, right? Any fright-flick worth its salt is going to give you a handful of perfectly pretty, perfectly disposable bodies to litter your slash-tastic landscape. In Cabin in the Woods, we get five kids going on a trip. Some of them get killed. Difference here, though, is that you find yourself rooting for them! Throw in a little pre-Thor Chris Hemsworth and you get a group of likeable folks that just wanted to have a nice weekend away. Instead, they get…
8: The Facility
The Facility is a top-secret location that sets up “scenarios” with all sorts of nasty creatures and groups of teenagers. Suddenly, Camp Crystal Lake looks like much less of a murder spree and like something far more sinister. And, it seems there are Facilities all over the freaking planet. The scenes from the Facility in Japan had me in near hysterics. And, it turns out, there is a reason why we have all of these stories of young, pretty people getting hacked to bits. It’s a fun twist, that has nothing to do with…
7: The Bong
Marty the Stoner has an amazing bong. By day, it looks like a travel coffee mug. By night, it is a mighty Wonder Bong, which, when wielded by the righteous, can produce wondrous results. Especially when confronted by…
6: The Family
The Bucker family, to be more precise. What would five kids stranded in the woods do without someone trying to kill them? Luckily, we don’t get much time to find out. In a great send-up to the Evil Dead, the Buckner family is introduced and sets to chopping. The Buckners are your classic “Zombie Redneck Torture Family”, and an absolute blast to watch.
5: The Script
Like most Whedon projects, the dialogue in Cabin in the Woods is crisp, vibrant, and fun. Whedon and co-writer Drew Goddard (who also directed) weave an incredibly complex story, with great, three-dimensional characters that come alive on the screen. As mentioned before, the clichés of the horror genre were set on their ears in Cabin in the Woods, as illustrated below:
[Curt and Jules have left the cabin]
Marty: Do you seriously believe nothing weird is going on?
Dana: What do you mean?
Marty: The way everybody is acting. Why is Jules suddenly a celebutante? And since when does Curt pull this alpha male bullshit? I mean, he’s a sociology major, he’s on full academic scholarship and now he’s calling his friend an egghead?
Dana: Curt’s just drunk.
Marty: I’ve seen Curt drunk, Jules too.
Dana: Well, then maybe it’s something else.
Marty: You’re not seeing what you don’t wanna see. Puppeteers.
Marty: Pop-Tarts. Did you say you have Pop-Tarts?
Dana: Marty, I love you, you’re really high.
[Dana turns and walks off and Marty whispers to himself]
Marty: We are not who we are.
[he pauses for a moment]
Marty: I’m gonna go read a book with pictures.
4: The Hero
Any fan of Buffy the Vampire Slayer could tell you that Joss Whedon is a card-carrying feminist. Most Whedon projects have strong female characters, who are more likely to do the rescuing than languish in an enemy’s clutches. Cabin in the Woods’ big hero is Dana, played with utter conviction by Kristen Connelly. Dana is the level-headed person in her group, and she makes the “girl survives at the end” cliché something unexpected. Seriously unexpected.
3: The Unicorn
Every little girl wants to see a unicorn, right? The magical beast in Cabin in the Woods is probably the most cuddly, wonderful mythical creature ever captured on film. Trust me on this.
2: The White Board
The Facility technicians have a nifty white board, with all kinds of monsters written on it. I’m not telling why. You’ll have to seek that out for yourself. I would pay a bajillion internet dollars to see all of these monsters on screen, especially “Kevin”. What the hell is a Kevin? It sounds terrifying!
1: The End
What? You think after all of this, I’m going to spoil the end? Stop reading this RIGHT NOW and watch Cabin in the Woods! FIVE OUT OF STARS!