Before I proceed, everyone should be made aware that Geek Outlaw and horror movies go together like Lindsay Lohan and the California Penal Code. Losing conscious control of my bowel movements and having my cardiovascular system partake in unscheduled stoppages are not things I enjoy experiencing on a regular basis.
The above confession will allow you to better appreciate my hesitation when I was asked to watch the latest Joss Whedon inspired creation, Cabin in the Woods. After having seen a preview back before the fright flick first hit theaters, I took my time – about 3.2 seconds – to determine that I would pass on this work of art for the foreseeable future. I figured I would explore the film down the road when memory loss allows me to forget things (such as horrific movies) roughly four minutes after viewing them.
“Nice doggy… cute little pooch. Maybe I’ve got a Milk-Bone…”
Leave it to a girl (albeit an incredibly attractive and geeky girl) to convince the Outlaw to open his mind and clean underwear drawer to the shock-an-gore that is Cabin in the Woods.
On top of being a self-proclaimed Whedon stalker, fellow outlaw Alexis Kaysen also lives 3000 miles away, which led us to do something neither of us had ever done before. (Please get your minds out of the gutter fellow outlaws… for now). That something is watch Cabin in the Woods together, simultaneously on our laptops, while also keeping a Skype window open to see who would start crying first.
If that doesn’t elevate me to complete geek status, then I guess I’m truly behind the tech-times. Don’t get me started on the days when I had to type ‘load’ commands on my Commodore 64 just to play the best version of Ghostbusters ever. I digress…
Without giving the entire premise away, I will say that Cabin in the Woods starts out in an odd fashion. The first scenes follow what seem to be two typical office grunts by the names Hadley and Sitterson (played with the perfect amount of comedic levity by Bradley Whitford and Richard Jenkins).
It isn’t long before introductions are made to the overly attractive cast of 20-somethings that bad things will happen to. The group is led by the muscle-producing Chris Hemsworth (of Thor & Avengers fame) as the most recognizable star of the group. As is mandatory for these types of epic stories, there is also some eye candy (Kristen Connolly & Anna Hutchinson) thrown in to keep the focus of the male DNA-based viewing audience.
The real star of the group is Marty (Fran Kranz of Whedon’s other short-lived series, Dollhouse), whom seems to summon the ghost of Shaggy for the part. In fact, the cast and movie itself is almost like a Scooby-Doo episode gone wrong. Very wrong.
The film bounces back and forth between the hormone-laden youngsters and the office grunts whom are seemingly part of a much bigger worldwide operation. Suffice it to say, the premise was unexpected and very refreshing in that this is not your Grandma’s typical slasher movie plot. The way information is slowly distributed also helped keep me interested up until the credits started rolling… despite the fact my hands were covering my eyes for about 90 minutes of the 95 minute run-time.
In the horror department, there were some ‘gotcha’ moments, but most of the freakishness was in the monster department, and the sheer amount of gore on screen in the last 10 minutes of the movie. There was so much blood in fact, I thought there was something wrong with the red color contrast of my laptop screen.
The end though, what made this movie enjoyable for me was the humor. Whedon is a credited writer on this one and his style shines through. The comedic levity laced throughout the film makes the experience more fun than frightful – in a sick gruesome twisted way – from beginning to end. The “am I on speaker?” bit had me rolling so hard with laughter that I could only imagine what a goofball I looked like via webcam.
Oh, and did I mentioned there was a special cameo from one of the Ghostbusters cast members alum? That pretty much sealed the deal for me!
Coming from someone who would usually prefer sitting through a colonoscopy versus this type of movie fare, it says quite a lot that I not only enjoyed, but highly recommend this movie. The only negatives I can attest to are that I now have a perpetual fear of the Merman and any man-made dwelling constructed solely from wood.
(Available Now for rental, download and purchase on DVD and Blu-Ray.)