Saturday, April 14, 2012

LITTLE MAN BY THE WINDOW STOOD: It's very hard to talk about Cabin In The Woods without getting spoilery, and the movie is much improved if you go in as unspoiled as possible. I'll just say that if you're thinking you want to see it, you probably should, that the performances (particularly those by Whitford and Jenkins) are darn fine, and that the movie, in addition to being both a darn fine horror film and a critique of horror film, raises questions about issues both low (reality television) and high (free will).  I know a number of y'all have seen it and want to talk about it, and the comments here are a spoiler zone, so enter at your own peril, OK?


  1. Joseph J, Finn10:07 PM

    Loved it and couldn't agree more about the themes explored, which are all the more impressive in that they don't get in the way of a good story.  It's a good sign for a horror movie when you care about the characters and hate it when they die and I was almost sick with dread before the motorcycle jump since I knew what was coming.

    There is a moment that I want to discuss a little bit.  When they are in the cube/elevator going past the prison cells, they pause at the ballerina and hellraiser parody cells...and there is a moment of the Sawhead where you get just how much of a pawn and a prisoner he is and it's a great little moment that a lesser movie wouldn't have made time for.

    Man, now I want to see it again.  (And of course, it was very nice to see other Whedon alums in small roles.  Was anyone able to read what Lenk was writing on his pad for the security camera?)

  2. I loved it too and was completely impressed at the ratio of laughs to genuine gasps/screams. I especially loved all the different nightmare creatures. I saw it at an advance screening where Whedon and Goddard spoke after, which was awesome. Apparently, when they finally sat down to write it, after coming up with the ideas and talking about it back and forth a bit, it only took them about three days. I also liked hearing that neither of them "owned" a particular character or location - so Joss didn't write only the cabin scenes and Drew only the lab scenes or vice versa - they both wrote some stuff at all locations, which I think is great because it doesn't feel like two people wrote it.

    At one point during the screening I looked up and the security guard, who was wearing green screen glasses to make sure no one was recording, was laughing hysterically at my row, and I looked over and everyone, including myself, was either hunched in some sort of cowering position, had their hands to their mouths, or something else along those lines. I imagine an audience at a movie like this is more fun to stare at for two hours than the audience at say, War Horse.

  3. The lab scenes read a little snappier/more Whedony than the cabin scenes, but both worked well.  I actually wish that we had more back story--we don't understand why all the other locations failed (other than Japan, where we get a snippet), how the group that operates the lab manages to fund itself, and whether different cultures had different archetypes (Japan, it was just a class of schoolgirls, none of whom would seem to fit some of the archetypes we were told were necessary).

    I'm also a bit bugged by the very end--once it was clear the Director was telling the truth, why didn't Fran Kranz just hurl himself into the abyss,  thus saving the world?

  4. Maret1:02 AM

    Oh! And I loved that no one in my theater had any idea Sigourney Weaver would show up. Great stunt casting. Goddard said she asked him and Joss to sign her script and was just being a super fan and awesome on set and they were both like, "Um, you know you're SIGOURNEY WEAVER, right?"

  5. Matt B9:52 AM

    I think that based on Marty's speech in Rambler in the beginning, he isn't a big fan of the current form of civilization to begin with.

  6. I live in this weird vortex of inability to stomach/stand horror films and wanting to know about them. Can someone summarize the plot/key themes (or link me to a place that does so)? Maj preesh...

  7. The Wiki entry does a decent job.  I'm none too fond of gore, but had no real problems--a few of the early kills are somewhat gory, and there's a segment in the third act which literally involves buckets of blood, but that part is largely played for comedy.

  8. I was waiting for the reveal that he was the virgin, but perhaps that would have been too easy.

    Also, I had flashbacks to Willow and the end of Buffy Season 4(?), wanting the screwed up world to end, no matter the consequences.  Anyone else?

    I recognized Sigourney Weaver's voice on one of the announcements in the lab, and as is sometimes said here, dayenu.   But the theatre gave a united gasp of happiness when she showed up.

  9. Robin8:49 AM

    Something along the lines of "I'm an intern." 

  10. Robin8:54 AM

    I am gore-adverse and I was able to enjoy the movie very much with minimal burying-my-face-in-my-husband's shoulder.  Also, the scene that I most had to hide my face from involved absolutely no gore, but rather fulfillment of an oogy dare in a game of Truth or Dare. 

  11. sknitting12:43 PM

    I am in the same weird vortex.  I've read the wikipedia entries for so many horror movies, but cannot deal with watching them.  Especially any with quick cuts, or people/things/loud noises that jump out and startle - that all leads to me being massively on-edge for the whole movie, and it's super un-enjoyable.  It also generally leads to a week of me checking behind the shower curtain anytime I'm in the washroom, and leaving closet doors open all over the place.

    I'm better now (at 23) than I was as a kid - I watched Scream 3 and I Know What You Did Last Summer at a church youth group all-nighter (who's awful idea was that?!) when I was about 12, and then spent a week sleeping on my sister's top bunk, instead of in my own room.  My younger sister.  Who is much less of a wuss than I am, apparently.

  12. Watts1:12 PM

    The more I think about this movie, the more I'm disturbed by it.  I guess what it comes down to is that I feel like, in the end, I'm given two choices: Root for the death of a select group of innocent victims or root for the destruction of the entire world.  That's distressing, y'all. Bleak.

    Also, I kept poking at the central conceit, once it had been revealed.  Why did the US version of the ritual involve the "spam in a can" horror movie conceit? Shouldn't it have been serial killer? Or school shooting? But then, the rituals we did see for other countries, particularly the Japanese one, seemed to be be more horror movie ritual than actual real world horrifying thing.  But in that case, why does the ritual have to be a real killing? Why not a horror movie?  Or do the ancient gods demand horror movies be enacted with real death? And really? Ancient gods watch horror movies?

    I kept going to a more science fiction solution rather than a horror movie one - why not sacrifice prisoners on death row? Recruit patients seeking assisted suicide? Even more sinister - exploit the areas of the world where infanticide is common. It's just, if "throwing the girl in a volcano" used to be a valid method for satisfying the ritual, why does it have to be more elaborate now? Are the ancient gods not just asleep, but bored?

    Sigourney Weaver - her rubberized long black gloves were the unfired Chekhov's gun of her scene.  I'm wondering if something will come out in deleted scenes later to explain what was going on there.

    Disturbing imagery - "The Sugarplum Fairy" (the little ballerina girl with the concentric mouths of fangs instead of a face) - I could not close my eyes last night without seeing her twirl around.

    Which leads me to - I'm not gore adverse, at all. I love me some Evil Dead and Peter Jackson's "Dead Alive" is fantastically gory and I love it.  What bothered me was all the real pain, honest emotion, and mindbendingly terrifying imagery in this film. I slept with the light on last night, for real.