Welcome to The Mundane Adventures of a Fangirl

I consider myself a Fangirl. What does that mean, you ask? A "fanboy" in the most common understanding is a hardcore fan of 'genre' based entertainment in particular. In my case - science-fiction and comic book based movies and television. Because I'm a chick - it's fangirl, not fanboy. There you have it! I am a big movie fan, however, not necessarily a 'film' fan. And now - I have the forum to present my opinions to the public! These will mainly be movie reviews -that will always be my opinion - repeat OPINION. Just what I think, and in no way do I present my opinion as fact. I hope you enjoy and maybe it will help you decide what to see at the movie theater this weekend!

Monday, April 23, 2012

Movie Review: Cabin in the Woods (R - 95 minutes)

How do you review a movie that you can't really say anything about?  Excellent question.  Should I say spoiler alert right now?  I'll try not to mention anything that wasn't already in all the commercials.
Let's start with some of my thoughts regarding horror movies in general:  not a fan.  I am not one of those people who enjoys a good fright.  There are many people who do get a kick out of being scared, thus the giant industry of horror movies.  So giant, in fact, that there are now tons of horror sub-genres:  slasher-horror, torture porn-horror, creature-horror, cerebral-horror, thriller-horror, religious-horror, and of course, documentary-style 'found footage' horror.  Personally, I prefer a sound night's sleep as opposed to really incredible nightmares that create the fear of closets, under-beds, basements, and dark woods.  I tend to avoid most horror movies, especially the really gory, bloody ones, as those are the ones that can promote the most vivid nightmares.  If I see a movie that can be classified as 'horror', chances are it can cross-fit into another major genre:  sci-fi horror, comedy-horror, etc.  I also really enjoy cheesy, bad SyFy-Saturday-Night horror nonsense.  Because, to be perfectly honest, I am usually laughing so hard at the nonsense, I'm just entertained and not terrified.  SyFy's rate of production is really all about quantity over quality.  They have created so many of these movies, I am not even going to list them here - but I will add this link of the Wikipedia list: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Category:Syfy_original_films , One of the recent ones was Leprechaun's Revenge, starring the lovely Billy Zane.
I have loved Billy Zane since Lake Consequence.  He is the reason I saw another horror movie, that remains one of my all time favorites:  1995s, Tales From the Crypt: Demon Knight.  It is completely over the top, ridiculous, and entertaining.  The surprise is that the story behind the nonsense is actually pretty good.  Billy Zane, William Sadler, and Jada Pinkett (before Smith got added to the end of that).  Group of strangers trapped in a building while horrifying creatures attack, pretty standard stuff - until you get into the reason why.

So I guess I do enjoy some horror movies, just not the majority of them.  After all - I love the Walking Dead - and that's pretty much a weekly mini horror movie, with some soap opera thrown in.
Cabin in the Woods is very difficult to explain without spilling too much information.  Let me just say that it was written by the genius that is Joss Whedon and Drew Goddard, directed by Goddard and produced by Whedon.  It was actually completed three years ago, but due to some trouble with the studio nearly going under, it got shelved for a bit.  With what seems to be perfect timing ("...see Chris Hemsworth's new movie!" "...from the director of the Avengers!") it is finally being released.
It's been out for two weeks, if you haven't seen it yet, you should.  It is fascinating and hilarious.  As for the claim, "it's completely changed the horror genre from this point forward!", well, I'm not sure about that.  It seems that a movie comes along every few years that does that (Scream, Blair Witch, the Ring, Saw, etc.).  However, I will agree that Cabin in the Woods is unique and different and very entertaining.
I feel like I can't say much about the plot, but I will steal this bit from IMDB.com:  "In an industrial facility, two technicians are preparing for their day on an unknown operation. Meanwhile, five friends are preparing for their trip to a remote cabin owned by a cousin. On the way, they stop for gas and have an encounter with a strange local who warns them from going further. While drinking and relaxing at the cabin, they discover a basement filled with interesting artifacts."  That sums up the opening of the movie...nothing in that blurb that was not in any of the trailers.  From that point forward, things get weird.
I was a little upset with the marketing of this movie.  Marketing decisions can make or break a movie.  I think the movie Easy A was Emma Stone's best movie - it didn't do as well as it should have because it was marketed as a teen sex romp comedy, when it was really much smarter than that (you should see it).
 If you target the wrong audience with your commercials, the movie doesn't do as well as it should.  The opposite is also true.  Marketing a movie as something better than it actually is will result in higher box-office totals for it's opening weekend, but then it will have a major drop-off after the first weekend as the negative word spreads.  There are many examples of this - it applies any time you've said, "all the funny parts were in the commercials." or anytime you see a award-nominated movie because it sure looked entertaining in the ads...Beginners is one that comes to mind right away on that:  marketed as funny, but actually a really depressing drama.
Cabin in the Woods is marketed as a horror movie, which is true, but it is smarter and funnier than that.  It was also clear from the commercials and trailers that there was something more at work.  I almost wish they had not ruined that for the audience.  While it is established in the opening sequence of the movie - it would have been really cool for that to have been a surprise.
In terms of the cast - Every one was really good.  Hemsworth's american accent is impressive and didn't seem to slip at all...Fran Kranz played the same character he's played before - and incidentally I am sick of super stoners in movies.  Jesse Williams, apparently best known for his bit in Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants 2, is also capable as the 'brainy' guy.  He is also really ethnicly-ambiguously good-looking...in fact, he's so gorgeous that I may have to go watch Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants 2 (man, those pants get around). I had not seen either of the two female leads before, but they were both good.  The real stars were the people in the lab - Bradley Whitford and Richard Jenkins in particular, and Brian White and Amy Acker to a lesser degree.  I could have watched the scenes between Whitford and Jenkins for hours. 
A word on the production value - the basement was awesome and I look forward to renting the movie and being able to pause on the basement to be able to fully appreciate every item in there.  Also, hooray for cheesy effects later on.  I can't really say anything else.  Your best bet with this movie is to go see it, then find someone else who has seen it, then discuss...  Parts of it are scary, and parts of it are gory, but overall, it's really entertaining!
7 out of 10.  lost points for Kranz's stoner - I have had it with that.  Gained points for Hemsworth's Sam Jackson Deep Blue Sea speech moment - outstanding.  Lost points for the PTS, didn't I just say how annoyed with that I was?  Gained points for the board in the lab, and the things listed on it - that I'm sure true horror fans got more out of than I did.  !!!Spoiler alert on these last two sentences!!!  skip if you want-->  Lost points for the last-episode-of-Angel style end.  Gained points for the Unicorn, and the Merman - they do make a mess.
Bonus Video 1: Deep Blue Sea - worth it just for that speech Sam Jackson gives!

Bonus Video 2: Jesse Williams's SotTP2 clip - "and Bam, Hello".
Bonus Video 3:  Billy Zane in Zoolander...cuz seriously - he's awesome.  Go rent Only You right now, or the Phantom, or Sniper, or Posse....

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