Reel Advice from the Video Store Guy

Cabin in the Woods

By Steve Anderson
November 1st, 2012

Cabin in the WoodsCabin in the Woods
****
DVD
Directed by Drew Goddard
Written by Joss Whedon, Drew Goddard
Starring Chris Hemsworth, Kristin Connolly, Sigourney Weaver
R
93 mins
2011

It took me a good long while to get here, and in all honesty, it was worth the wait. It's Cabin in the Woods, and this sucker is going to be one of the most impressive horror movies I have literally ever seen.

Cabin in the Woods starts out much like any of literally dozens of other horror movies, with a group of five friends going off for a wild weekend of booze, partying, and premarital sex in the titular cabin in the woods. But what's actually going on in that cabin is going to be a whole lot more than any of them ever could have seen coming. Not only will they have to survive their wild weekend, but they're going to have to save the world besides.

There's only so much I can actually tell you about Cabin in the Woods without spoilering the entire experience, but let me put it to you this way: Joss Whedon has built a world here that is so massive, and at the same time so disappointing, that it's going to be wholly unlike anything else you've ever seen. For horror movies, this is no mean feat; originality in this genre has long since been in short supply. But this one...this is going to be both light years beyond and head and shoulders above anything you've ever tackled.

I'm quite serious here, folks...at the risk of hyperbole this, I believe, is now my new favorite horror movie. Period. Ever. I thought that nothing was ever going to knock Night of the Living Dead (1990 theatrical rerelease) off its perch, but holy hell, did this ever pull it off. Dave Barry actually described a situation similar to this in his book A Complete Guide to Guys: A Fairly Short Book, in which he related the story of an ant who was perched on top of a truck tire. The ant is aware, on a very basic level, that there is something extraordinarily large located directly beneath his tiny ant feet, but he is no more aware of just what that something is, or his relationship to it, than he is of the stars themselves. And when that truck tire starts rolling, and the ant moves with it, the only thought that will cross his little ant brain until the moment said ant is turned into a gooey smear on the pavement is, and I quote:

"Huh?"

To put it another way, by the time you get to the last half hour, you'll wish there were only the monsters you saw running around for the first hour.

Whedon has turned this into an utter masterpiece, building a world so intensely complex and so downright massive that we will likely only see a fraction of what may go on in it. We are the ant atop this truck tire, and we will likely never get out of the center of the tread. That's what's so disappointing about Cabin in the Woods--there's a lot we don't know, and plenty that could have happened that likely never will. There are opportunities in this world that boggle the mind, but they will almost certainly never happen.

Still, what we've got here is an untrammeled delight beyond anything I've ever seen before.

The ending is a hyperkinetic delight that, if it provokes a similar reaction in you, will actually cause your pulse to accelerate. Mine did.

The special features include audio options and your choice of English or Spanish subtitles. Also included are trailers for Cabin Fever, The Possession, The Last Exorcism, My Bloody Valentine 3D, as well as spots for Epix and FearNet.

All in all, I didn't think horror could ever be this good again. And yet, here it is, big as life. This is one for any horror buff who's sick of the cliches, because while they'll all be in play here, they will never have been done like this.

Want to receive an expanded version of Reel Advice as an E-Newsletter?? Email to thevideostoreguy@columnist.com with "The Advisor" in the subject line.  Steve Andersen, much to his own chagrin, is a five-plus year veteran of the direct to video market. He has spent an alarming amount of time in video stores and seeks to provide the public with advance information on all the video releases that they may never have heard of...whether they want to hear of them or not. Steve appears in one way or another weekly, biweekly, or monthly on such fine entertainment-related ezines as Film Threat, Dream Forge, Reel Horror, Acid Logic, Chaotic Culture Magazine, Malicious Bitch webzine, and many others. Readers, agents, or editors can email Steve at thevideostoreguy@columnist.com




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