Image copyright © by Marcus Trahan

The Cabin in the Woods


This one has been sitting on my TO REVIEW list for two months now, as I ponder how I can communicate how much I hated, hated, hated this movie. I guess I’d better start with a brief plot summary.

Richard Jenkins and Bradley Whitford are with dozens of other people in some sort of super-secret, super high-tech mission control facility spying on this group of young people who are going out into the wood to spend a weekend. They are the usual horror movie suspects: dumb blonde, jock, comic relief nerd, smart girl, and the next-to-last guy to die. Very soon they are being gruesomely murdered by some sort of zombie family. And the people in central control are making bets on who goes next.

WTF? I’ll skip ahead to the Great Surprise. Turns out that all those ancient gods of yore, you know, the ones that demanded frequent blood sacrifices? Aztec, Samoan, Greek, Norse, all them bastards? Turns out they’re for real! They’re really down there, in the ground, and all these years the self-sacrificing heroes in Mission Command have been engineering these slaughters of innocents to appease them! Keep THE GODS from rising and destroying mankind, or something! To this task they bring a gigantic army of bloody-thirsty, psychopathic, beings of some sort, kept in a vast library. (Near the end they escape and we see them as the destroy each other. I see hardly any of these kind of shit movies, but even I could recognize some of them simply from having seen the movie posters. I’m sure a gore devotee would recognize nearly all of them. This is Joss Whedon—by far the most overrated guy in Hollywood—winking at us, assuring us the bloodbaths are all in fun.)

Trouble is, Whitford, Jenkins and their murderous accomplices are themselves having a great deal of fun doing this stuff. There is an office pool about what monster will be released, who will die first, and so forth. There is great cheering, Champaign corks popping, confetti and ticker tape. Yeah, yeah, they have to emotionally distance themselves from the repulsive work they do, like cops and ambulance crews. Yeah, I get it. And halfway through the movie I wanted nothing so much as to roast every one of them over a very slow fire. I hated these characters beyond almost anyone else I have ever encountered in a movie. I was very disappointed that they all died (of course) too quickly. I wanted them to suffer!

I’m going to give away the ending without even a spoiler warning, because this movie doesn’t deserve even that courtesy. At the end Smart Girl and Nerd are the only survivors. She realizes that to stop the Ancient Gods from emerging, to “save the world,” she has to kill Nerd, because that’s in the script. She thinks about it … and she lets him live.

And it was the right choice. I cheered her on. If the world were like that, if to satisfy a super-powerful psychotic like, for instance, Jehovah, you had to kill your good friend and companion-in-arms, I say let the fucking world be destroyed! If our real world could be such a degraded place that a crew of people repeatedly engineer the painful and horrifying deaths of total innocents and think of themselves as heroes … just doing a nasty job that has to be done, dude, that’s all … then let the fucking world be destroyed. I don’t want to live in it. Decent behavior is more important than to perpetuate that sort of world. Let it die.

And it does die, and everyone in it, I presume, and I loathed this movie more than anything I’ve seen in ten years.