The Nightmare Before Christmas: The Cabin In The Woods

24 days, fewer horror films, one moderately confusing title for this series of posts. This sort of thing is more traditionally done in October, but I'm doing it in December because I can.

First up is The Cabin in the Woods, which Wikipedia describes as a "satirical dark comedy horror film". Joss Whedon was involved in the writing, so I have pretty high hopes for it.

Live reactions:

  • Ooh, pants.
  • The freshly blonde person is carrying nothing, and holding on to the athlete's arm. How useless.
  • Ah, rugged Hemsworth good looks. Rugged like puppy.
  • Topher! You go, girl, with your stoner sass. Show this movie who's boss.
  • Gas station owner is cruising for a bruising, but just gets lip from Topher.
  • Getting Evil Dead flashbacks here. Tread carefully, film.
  • One-way mirror, very creepy. cute new guy best back the fuck...oh, good, he's decent and sweet. Cutie gonna die.
  • Now she best back off, it's still creepy when it's a girl doing it.
  • What is up with these scientists?
  • Hair dye to make people dumber? Someone needs to tell the writers to stop high-fiving themselves for lampshading cliches.
  • Harbinger on line two. The lambs have passed through the gate.
  • Patterns must be followed. They must transgress before they can be punished. They must ignore the warning signs.
  • A ritual sacrifice? Why does it take the form of a horror film?
  • Okay, making out with taxidermy is creepy as fuck.
  • Cellar trapdoor. More flashbacks. Will there be a movie poster?
  • This is like five types of fucked up possibilities for starting a horror plot. I'm voting for puzzle box. Let's get some hot Cenobite action up in here.
  • No movie poster.
  • Don't read the Latin.
  • No!
  • You so dumb, redhead. I hope they eat you first.
  • But the blonde is being sexual, so it will probably be her.
  • Topher has a theory. It could be bunnies.
  • Zombie Redneck Torture Family is not a genre i'm familiar with. Probably one of these new-fangled hippity hoppity things.
  • Making out in the woods. Always a smart move.
  • Jump scare impalement. Very sexual, but what isn't? The hammer is my penis.
  • Hmm. The sacrifice is to keep a demon asleep?
  • Disembodied voice says 'go for a walk', Topher says he controls his own actions, goes for a walk.
  • Redhead is making out with cutie. I think he might be a plant. Was he doing anything in the cellar?
  • Let us split up.
  • Topher, he dead. Maybe. I didn't see a corpse.
  • "Remember when you could just throw a girl in a volcano?" Forget Judeo-Christian demons, is this placation of gods?
  • Jump the chasm? Great plan. Go boom fall down. Hemsworth, you dead idiot.
  • Redhead has it figured out. We're all dancing for the puppet masters.
  • Cute guy tries encouragement, gets garroted for his troubles.
  • Topher lives, fucks up the puppetmasters' celebration.
  • Topher is badass. Dismembered a zombie with a trowel. I want to have his adorable geeky babies.
  • Faux Cenobite is a little boring. Sawblades in the head? Pshaw.
  • Flip some switches!
  • All hell breaks loose. This is an accurate representation of what happens when you randomly flip switches.
  • Waiting for the merman to show up.
  • Merman et the guy who was rooting for them to blow the conch. (Blowing the conch is not a euphemism.)
  • Sigourney Weaver!
  • Punished for youth. The ritual takes different forms depending on society and its need to punish, but it's always youth.
  • Yeah, that makes sense. Not.
  • Yep, the sleeping Elder Gods lie beneath and must be placated by the ritual.
  • No, don't shoot Topher, Dana. It's not worth it. The needs of the many can take a flying leap. STAY AWAY FROM MY FAKE HUSBAND!
  • Yay, she et. No shooting for you or your pretty face, Topher.
  • Smoke 'em if you got 'em.
  • THE ELDER GODS RISE AND DESTROY HUMANITY. WOULD YOU LIKE TO TRY AGAIN Y/N?

Post-movie postmortem: slickly produced, moderately entertaining, but in the end I find it unsatisfying. I can tell that I wasn't satisfied because instead of being caught up in the movie I started asking questions. Why are there highly advanced underground bunkers dedicated to performing ritual sacrifices? Why are they so bad at doing so? Why is their surveillance tech so obvious when they have freaking energy shield technology? Are we actually supposed to care about any of these people who make it their job to sacrifice young people to the insatiable hunger of Cthulhu? If the film didn't feel so self-consciously clever in its approach to the genre this lack of engagement might not have been an issue, but it did and it was.

Three stars. Mainly for Fran Kranz.