Whenever I go to the pictures (or ‘cinema’ as most people call it) I make every effort to avoid trailers. Over the weekend I went to see The Cabin In The Woods, a film I knew absolutely nothing about other than it was apparently good, and it was written and directed by Drew Goddard (Lost, Cloverfield, Angel) and co-written by Joss Whedon (partly responsible for quite a few things I’ve not liked, particularly that fourth Alien film after the trilogy). We arrived early, got into the screen early and I had to watch the trailers. Looking back, I wish I’d had some ice cream to distract me.
Here’s one of the trailers:
I’ve not laughed so much since my playthrough of Bulletstorm a few weeks ago. Then came:
This trailer wasn’t so funny, if only because it made me ponder the sad state of the Western ‘blockbuster’ horror movie. If it isn’t a Western rehash of a world cinema gem, then it’s some found footage or paint-by-numbers Hollywood glam horror, or another cheap sequel. The last bad horror film I watched was Paranormal Activity 3 (I missed the second one– oh noes!) which sort of straddled those latter three, and in all honesty I’ve had bigger scares using Games For Windows Live. It had its moments but it was ultimately a let down after the first film which creeped me out no end. Now usually I wouldn’t even entertain the idea of seeing a film with a 3 at the end but because my girlfriend works at the cinema amidst many film-goers, we usually get a decent idea of what’s worth seeing and what isn’t and apparently Paranormal Activity 3 was worth seeing. Obviously, this system is not 100% reliable.
The last good horror film we watched however, was Julia’s Eyes, a Spanish film by Guillem Morales and while it had its flaws, it was unpredictable and did some interesting things centered around the film’s main theme of blindness. Unfortunately, unpredictability is becoming a scarce resource in films for me these days. When I watch, read or play anything, my mind plots courses, mapping out the possibilities in which the story may unfold and what events may occur (this may explain why I enjoyed Heavy Rain so much because, to a certain extent, you could influence these possibilities). Often some of these projected courses come into being and with it I get a little disappointed that the film didn’t surprise me in some way.
Anyway, where was I…? Ah, the trailers. As I said, I make every effort to avoid them, at best they give me time to eat my ice cream before I have to start looking up to watch the film, at worst they spoil a film. Now in the case of The Cabin In the Woods, the trailers leading up to it almost seemed cherry-picked to enhance my enjoyment of the main feature. The bad trailers (above) of presumably bad films irked me, they reminded me of why I don’t really entertain most modern Western horrors and I don’t like to be reminded of that. But there I was, sat ice-creamless preparing to watch a modern Western horror. I’d heard it was good. This better be good.
Thankfully, it was good. Oh boy was it good. I’m going to go all-in here and say it’s one of the most exciting films I’ve seen in years. The trailers before the film were just added kindling for the fire that The Cabin In The Woods was about to light– the effigy it was about to burn as much as it was going to celebrate. Watching it was a kind of release; it was like witnessing the dust being beaten out of the genre. You could say that The Cabin In The Woods is the explosive enema that the lazy, gluttonous and bloated blockbuster horror needed. You could also say that I’ve probably used too many metaphors here. Either way, it was a very welcome surprise to say the least.
The problem is, I can’t say much more about The Cabin In The Woods because the less you know about it the better. And no, don’t watch the trailer either. In fact I’ve probably said too much already. It’s not a straight-up horror and it isn’t really that scary, but everything else it does not only wiped the grimace off the cynical curmudgeon in me, it also made me giggle like a spoilt child. It’s a riot, and an unpredictable one too. I can also safely say that Joss Whedon has finally won me over.
Anyway, don’t just take my word for it, here:
…if you’re into horror at all you need to prioritize this ASAP, especially since the less you know about its mechanisms, the more fun it is.
Some random off the internet
I want to talk about this more so hurry up and watch it, then come back here and tell me what you think. While you’re here, let me know of any other horror films that have impressed you over the years. Old or new, me and my girlfriend are always open to recommendations.