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CABIN IN THE WOODS: Subversive Brilliance or Trite Garbage?


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Showing 1-10 of 10 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Sep 21, 2012 6:34:30 PM PDT
This seems to be the most divisive and polarizing horror film in recent memory. What title do you think CABIN IN THE WOODS deserves: Subversive Brilliance or Trite Garbage? And why (please be more specific than "because it sucked" or "because it was awesome", or my absolute least favorite defense of a position: "Because of everything!")?

I'm sure you can find my review to find out my thoughts on this film. Hint: It's probably the longest.

Posted on Oct 2, 2012 6:17:14 PM PDT
Subversive garbage. Which is not meant to be entirely flippant; it examines some common horror tropes, but ultimately it's another gorefest popcorn film, that embraces the cliches at the same rate it deconstructs them. A meta-commentary is all well and good, but it doesn't elevate the material by itself, and horror has become so self-aware that it falls well short of revolutionary.

I wouldn't say it's brilliant, but I did find it very entertaining, and I had a great time at the theater. But I think characterizing Cabin as a work of subversive genius is creating more backlash than anything.

Posted on Oct 2, 2012 8:54:09 PM PDT
I also wouldn't necessarily characterize this film as subversive genius. It's more of my own personal exploration into how this film has become so polarizing, and how successful Whedon and Goddard are at making a film with that intent built in.

And I think you are 1000% dead on in your summation. This is not high art; it's popcorn-munching moviemaking that does hold true to designs of the very things it's satirizing, so it's a bit of a mixed philosophical bag.

Thank you for a very thoughtful (and so far, sole) addition to this discussion.

Posted on Oct 24, 2012 3:16:42 PM PDT
Andrew Brown says:
I wouldn't tag brilliant on it either. I'm ok with subversive, though it doesn't do anything I haven't seen to varying degrees in other films. Regardless of where it falls in the genre, the main question I always ask myself is did I enjoy it? Yes, definitely. In the end, it was just another fun flick that I'll be happy to own and occasionally throw on when I'm in the mood. To me, it's another Rise of Leslie Vernon, but with a bigger budget and larger scope.

The thing I enjoyed the most was the level of hubris displayed throughout by the overseers; I thought it played well with the ending in a classic sense. I actually prefer a well-woven story over a "surprise" ending (I consider cheap surprises "trite"). For example, Saw (first one) had me saying to myself, "Why am I only seeing victims? This doesn't make any sense." Apparently I was supposed to be surprised when the guy stood up and walked out, but I was only annoyed. Cabin managed to tell the story in a way that kept me paying attention without feeling heavily spoon-fed, while being entertained by decent action. Over all, a well done flick.

In reply to an earlier post on Oct 24, 2012 5:06:46 PM PDT
The title of the thread here is more of a mini-sociological experiment I was looking to perform, since there is a significant amount of 5-star reviews (I'm one of them), and a smaller but important amount of 1-star reviews. I wanted to find why there seem to be so many of each and where the disconnect was.

I happen to think this film is brilliant, but in a subjective "I geeked out like a mofo" way. There isn't a lot of new ground, but there are some big ideas at work here.

I feel similarly about SAW as well. I just thought "Huh?" as opposed to the legions who saw Tobin Bell get up and thought "Cool!".

In reply to an earlier post on Oct 24, 2012 11:53:55 PM PDT
Andrew Brown says:
Ah, sorry if I missed the target. I think your "geek out" observation pretty much hits a significant aspect of the movie on the head, though. For me, it was the mix of visceral and cerebral that makes it an easy 4-star. I honestly should probably call it a 5 as I rarely run across movies that I like enough to buy on release, but I really don't hand those out... maybe I'll reconsider for this one.

Unfortunately, no 1-stars seem to be chiming in, but I'm thinking some of those people may have been expecting something that pushed their shock sensors to a new limit versus a movie that plays around with the precepts of the genre... or something like that.

In reply to an earlier post on Oct 25, 2012 6:32:23 PM PDT
Abram Spells says:
I just saw this movie this past week and thoroughly enjoyed it. I really enjoy the horror genre and I am always looking for something different and this movie definitely delivered. I liked the fact that I was able to see a different story being told in the genre. I will admit that the film wasn't overly scary, but it did hit the right notes for me. I really want to see it again.

In reply to an earlier post on Oct 28, 2012 5:00:07 PM PDT
No, you didn't miss anything. That's more on me, but yes, no one on the negative end seems to want to join in. Although, I do think that it's funny that so many of the negative reviews seem to jump directly into hyperbole territory and call it the worst film ever, like they're all deranged versions of Comic Book Guy.

In reply to an earlier post on Oct 28, 2012 5:15:36 PM PDT
This is a film I've seen from beginning to end five times now (once in the theaters and I wanted to see it more at that time, but my wife didn't care for it and then 4 times now on Blu, once with the commentary track on), and it hasn't lost any of its luster. I highly recommend that anyone who can, get the DVD or Blu so they can explore some of the extras as well as the Goddard/Whedon commentary track because you get a real idea of where they were coming from when they decided to make this film.

In reply to an earlier post on Nov 30, 2012 3:29:31 PM PST
I don't see it as subversive but it is brilliant. Long time horror fans will find a reference to everything they hold dear and then watch it again and again to identify the players they couldn't quite place the first time. It honors the genre as much as it satirizes it. It is the epitome of good clean scary fun and thought provoking social commentary. It is confusion and clarity rolled up in zombies, werewolves, aliens, and Sigourney Weaver. I am sorry to have to let Dusk Til Dawn go as my fav movie, but Cabin has no equals and will stand as the best ever smart horror movie ever made. And oh - because it was just awesome, dude...
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Participants:  5
Total posts:  10
Initial post:  Sep 21, 2012
Latest post:  Nov 30, 2012

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