By Missy Katner
Lumen Assistant Editor
By Molly Grosskreutz
“The Cabin in the Woods” is a modern horror flick directed by Drew Goddard. Five college friends visit a remote cabin in pursuit of a relaxing and fun-filled weekend. Little do they know that once they cross the property line, a secret workforce monitors every move they make, aiming at making their lives a living hell.
MG: This movie heavily depends on every college student stereotype: the brain, the athlete, the stoner, the good girl, and the bad girl.
MK: Precisely. You think you know what to expect from this lame-looking teen horror flick—until the first scene rolls. And that is Joss Whedon in a nutshell. His fingerprints are all over this film. If you are familiar with his work — “Buffy the Vampire Slayer,” “Dr. Horrible,” and “Firefly” — then you know his presence as the writer/producer is unmistakable.
MG: Using stereotypes to establish characters made each character frustratingly one-dimensional, and it made it hard for me to establish a sense of empathy with any of them. At the same time, those stereotypes are crucial to the plot.
MK: I agree. I didn’t care about most of them (four out of five to be exact). But I think that’s the point. In general this movie pokes fun at horror, a genre full of clichés and cheap thrills.
MG: For me, this movie wasn’t at all scary. Actually, I found myself laughing more than I was cringing…I also found myself cringing with laughter at the sheer unbelievability of it all.
MK: I wonder if this is exactly the cringing that the filmmakers wanted from their audience. But yes, this movie is not really intended to be a spook flick. I think it’s trying to do more than scare.
MG: The concept of this movie is cool, I’ll give it that. However, I think that the depth and potential of the solid writing were undermined by all the horror movie clichés, what with the zombie rednecks, chainsaws, and creepy gas station attendant.
MK: Haha! I know what you mean. The plot is so full of “What the heck?” moments that it constantly fluctuates between clever and over-the-top craziness. Almost anything we discuss plot-wise is guaranteed to be a spoiler. I will say that the jumps from the snarky, callous white collar workers (who manipulate the cabin kids) to the terror of their victims feel jarring at first. But I found those cross cuts increasingly entertaining.
MG: This movie felt unbalanced. I know this was marketed as a horror story, but Marty (Fran Kranz) is so utterly ridiculous as the stoner that people in the theater were scoffing, including myself. I understand that humor can complement and sometimes ease the tension caused by horror…but the humor completely negated any of the would-be scary moments.
MK: I will disagree with you here, Molly. To me, Marty made this movie what it was. Its intention was not to be genuinely frightening, but to poke holes in aspects of horror films. Through Marty’s haze of conspiracy theories, he is the only character to realize what is truly happening at the cabin. He functions as much more than just comic relief—he’s the voice of the audience.
MG: I was pleased to see Jesse Williams in something other than “Grey’s Anatomy.” However, his character was the flattest of them all. By the way, directors, you don’t need to slap glasses on someone to make them look smart. Either they are or they aren’t. But Jesse Williams, I forgive you, because you are insanely attractive.
MK: I was so confused by his character! How do you mess up a stereotype? I feel like something crucial about him was cut to allow for more blood splatter. Just one of several questionable tidbits.
After some flip-flopping, I’ve decided. I was weirdly amused by this movie. Worth seeing if you want something funny, unexpected, and evil-unicorn-impaling-guys-ridiculous.
MG: Sigourney Weaver is in this. Surprise!
MG: Thumbs down.
MK: Thumbs up.