Monday, August 24, 2015

Shocktoberfest 2015-Cabin in the Woods Edition (Joss Whedon, 2012)

October is really Shocktober in my house.  That's when I try to watch as many horror movies as I can.
I am not a very organized person, and terrible at planning, so I usually wing these yearly marathons and try to make some sort of tally of what I watched.  Well, I made a list last year.  That was a step up from previous years.  Last weekend I came across this interesting article which listed the top 21 horror films of the 21st century (thus far), according to the Internets. Inspired by the fact that many of my favorite, modern films were on it, I made an executive decision and decided that Shoctoberfest would start early this year.  Here is the list that Mark Hofmeyer at Movies Films & Flix created, so let's get busy:

21. (tie) Session 9 (2001)
21 (tie). The Devil’s Rejects (2005)
20. What We Do in the Shadows (2014)
19. Paranormal Activity (2007)
18. The Mist (2007)
17. The House of the Devil (2009)
16. American Psycho (2000)
15. Trick r’ Treat (2007)
14. [Rec] (2007)
13. Martyrs (2008)
12. The Conjuring (2013)
11. The Ring (2002) (American remake)
10. Drag Me To Hell (2009)
9. Mulholland Drive (2001)
8. Shaun of the Dead (2004)
7. The Babadook (2014)
6. It Follows (2014)
5. Let the Right One In (2008)
4. The Descent (2005)
3. 28 Days Later (2002)
2. Pan’s Labyrinth (2006)
The Winner: Cabin in the Woods (2012)
(My honorable mentions include Kill List, the entire [REC], VHS and ABC's of Death franchises.  I know that not everyone enjoyed the franchise films as much as I did, but why heck wasn't Kill List on this list?)

To find out how the author chose these films, read the article.  My goal is to try to watch as many of these films as I can before I get distracted by oh look, nonfat Greek Yogurt...But really, let's just jump right to the top of the list and start talking about the movies.

To start off, I watched Joss Whedon's 2012 meta-horror film The Cabin in the Woods. If you haven't seen it, stop reading and go watch it.  Seriously, the less you know, the better your experience will be.  We'll wait.

What does the suffix meta mean when applied to any type of art work?  If you are still reading and haven't seen the movie, I wash my hands of all responsibility.  Meta is an adjective that describes a creative work referring to itself or to the conventions of its genre.  It is  self-referential.  Does that make The Cabin in the Woods a horror movie about horror movies? Or is that just dumb?  Well, IMHO, the whole meta genre can get old, tired and predictable pretty quickly.  It can also re-plow the once fallow fields of an exhausted old farm and yield a smart, exciting and entirely fresh approach.

Richard Jenkins and Bradley Whitford proving that peeling off the opaque layers
 and removing the obfuscations behind  reviled archetypes (and stereotypes) is cool.
It took a awhile to warm up to the film the first time through because it was so trite and cliched in the first third.  But that is what made the rest of the film so amazing!  Plus Whedon and co-writer Drew Goddard (The Martian, Cloverfield) wrote themselves into the script as a two man chorus whose wry banter provided excellent exposition.

To get all the "in" joke references, check out this cool video on Good Bad Flicks's YouTube page (worth checking out for further content).  Make sure to watch to the end (it is about 10 minutes long) because he does a great job (better than I could) explaining why  The Cabin in the Woods is such a fun and important film for fans of the genre.

I realize that most of this post is content from other posts, so does that make this a meta-post?

1 comment:

Bob Johns said...

I think I will put The Cabin in the Woods on my Halloween bucket list for this year, I have been trying to watch this for a while now.