December 2, 2012 by Me and My Monkeys
A Truman Show twist on the horror genre, The Cabin in the Woods tries to be cool but fails to be smart.
It was the escher-teric marketing image of a Rubik’s Cabin floating like Howl’s castle that made this film a must-see. When the action starts, the anticipation of subversion is enough to keep you tingling for a killer narrative punch. The trouble is that the punch never really comes – replaced by a limp mishmash of blood, guts and postmodern borrowings.
I get that this film is meant to be parody of itself and everything around it, but the self-conscious mode is no longer an automatic ticket to success. (Even Vanilla Ice added some new words atop Queen’s Under Pressure.) Sometimes a ‘genre’ film is best advised to be proud of what it is and leave the intertextual acrobatics to literary fiction.
Despite some street cred for the Buffy generation, writer Joss Whedon is also no Charlie Kaufman, and for this plot-twister he needed to be.
There may be enough nonsensical layers in The Cabin to fuel the odd minor thesis, but the undergrad authors will likely be more coherent than the film that they critique.
The vampire slayer hasn’t aged well and neither will the cabin.
Recommended? Probably worth seeing for sci-fi/horror or Whedan nuts – otherwise no.
Out of 10? 5
My monkeys suggest:
- Give us Evil Dead, Cube or Monsters Inc., but not all at once!
- Read a well considered, positive review at The Popcorn Scoop