If You’re Tired Of The Same Old Story, Oh, Baby, Turn Some Pages

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Here’s something that’s been weighing on my mind: it shocks me that Cabin In The Woods doesn’t have a much stronger following and I genuinely cannot come up with a reason for its lack of one.  I saw it twice in theaters and have watched it 3 times since it’s been an instant watch on Netflix.  I LOVED it during the first viewing and have found that even after a few more, it totally holds up.  The thing about it is that it’s fun and at times hilarious, while at others, really scary.  It’s a must-see for fans of the horror genre, like myself, while others who could take or leave horror will also enjoy it.

Longtime lovers of scary movies like me can appreciate all of the clever shout-outs to horror flicks of old.  In fact, Cabin In The Woods is kind of a tribute to the whole horror genre.  Writers Josh Whedon and Drew Goddard take every cliche and stereotype we’ve come to associate with scary movies and puts them all together AND supply a fun and interesting explanation for them.  They very smartly and creatively find a way to BOTH strictly follow the formula and make something completely original.  They somehow manage to make a horror flick that is every bit a generic horror flick, that is like every other horror flick ever made, while, simultaneously, taking that seemingly generic premise and using it to disassemble and reconfigure the formula we’ve seen in horror flicks since the spawn of the genre.  This film is so much more than a zombie movie or a slasher flick or even a supernatural story.  It is everything all at once.  And IT WORKS.  It even has some social relevance while still managing to never take itself too seriously.  In all honesty, I think it’s kind of perfect.

The acting is mostly good (I say mostly because there is one actor whose performance is slightly sub par – but hers is the ONLY one), good enough, in fact, to give these stereotypical characters surprising depth.  Like every other aspect of this film, they are two things at once: the cliched caricatures we’re used to seeing in scary movies and very much, well, not.  And in addition to the scary stuff, which is often pretty scary, there’s an abundance of excellent humor that lightens it up.  For this reason alone, it is definitely a crossover film: it appeals to fans of the horror genre and those who usually shy away from it.  There’s eye candy for all (I could make a sandwich with Chris Hemsworth and Jesse Williams) and even one completely awesome cameo by a woman who has become an icon in the sci-fi world.  Like I said, perfect.

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There’s also a big, big, big, big surprise ending that, for me, sets it apart from damn near every other film (horror or otherwise) I’ve seen.  It takes a lot of balls to end a movie in such a way and for that, kudos to Whedon and Goddard.  I’ve read that before the first screening, Whedon told the audience something like, “Enjoy it and then keep it to yourself.”  Because it’s very much like Fight Club in this way; the first, second and third rules about Cabin In The Woods are: You don’t talk about Cabin In The Woods.  To be less vague and disclose any more detail than I already have is to rob you of the sheer joy you’ll feel when you realize that this film is irrevocably and unapologetically going balls-to-the-wall, batshit bonkers.  This moment first shows itself in a scene in the second act that I call “The Purge” which is quite possibly the coolest fucking scene in any scary movie, EVER.  As well as frightening and funny and thrilling and wildly fun in a shit-yourself giddy kind of way all at the same time.  Which is in itself a rarity in any film and even more rare, is that I could use that same sentence to describe the movie itself.

If you’re a fan of horror flicks, you have to watch this.  If you’re not, you still should watch it because whether you care about all the details that pay homage to the genre or not, Cabin In The Woods is one wicked fun ride.

~Nikki

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In That Tiny Kind of Scary House, By the Woods, By the Woods, By the Woods, By the Woods – SPOILER FULL!

Source: Wikipedia

After our recent viewing of The Cabin in the Woods, the much-buzzed about horror film from the mind of Midas – I mean Joss Whedon, Annie and Nikki decided that I should be the one to write the review, since I was basically bouncing out of my seat with joy, excitement, and satisfaction. Word of warning: If you haven’t seen this yet, please don’t read any further. Check out Annie’s spoiler free review, because this one is going to be full-on spoilerific. Seriously, do not read this if you haven’t seen the movie. You will be robbing yourself of a lovely experience. If you read this review before seeing the movie, you are one of those self-destructive people who likes to destroy their own happiness. You have been warned!

The Cabin in the Woods is a horror movie, yes – but it is so much more. Horror fans will likely enjoy it – and though I can take or leave the genre, I had a positively grand old time. All the horror elements are there (quite literally) – along with fantastic gore, and certainly the occasional tense moment and jolt of fear.

But you’ve also got laughs (primarily thanks to Fran Kranz (Marty) and Bradley Whitford (Hadley)) – and most importantly, the whole meta vibe of the film. It offers up a plate of commentary on the horror genre, of which my brain senses it is only scratching the surface. The interchangeability of the fear source – zombies, ghosts, inbreeds with chain saws, and hell, mermen. The stereotypical characters in most horror flicks – the fool, the jock, the slut, brain, and virgin – which the film’s initially atypical characters descend into, thanks to the controllers behind the cameras. This is an intelligent film, and possibly as close as you can get to sitting in a room with its amazing creators and talking about the genre.

As the film neared its end, and you learn that the destruction of the entire human race is within arm’s reach, my glee reached a precipice and froze – would the filmmakers go full tilt and decimate humanity, or would they puss out and save the world? I was momentarily unsure, but thankfully, since Joss Whedon is involved here, and he likes to kill people, they go for it. The gods burst forth from within the earth, and everybody dies – within which probably lies another layer of horror commentary, and for me, was nearing social commentary. (Annie often speaks of the need for a meteor to strike the earth…and I have a certain predilection for disaster movies (CLOVERFIELD, ANYONE!? Drew Goddard wrote both of these.).)

My main curiosity upon leaving the theater was how the film will hold up upon multiple viewings. Part of the fun is not knowing what’s going to happen, surely. And though I can’t officially say until it comes out on DVD and I buy it – which I will – I have a feeling that this movie is meaty enough – and just plain fun enough – that it will remain enjoyable and relevant.

Horror, gore, laughs, layers, intelligence, gleeful chaos, mystery, cinematic commentary, social commentary – The Cabin in the Woods has quite literally all that and a bag of chips. And the bag of chips is Sigourney Weaver. It’s the most fun you can have while sitting in a chair, but most importantly, it keeps you thinking once you’ve left that chair.

~X.

Through the Forest, Down to Your Grave – SPOILER FREE!

Source: Wikipedia

The Cabin in the Woods is the kind of film where it helps if you know nothing about it. Which is why, in this review, I’m not going to ruin anything for you, cause you deserve to have a pristine experience. If you’ve seen it already, and just want to read thoughts on the actual plot, tomorrow we’re going to post X’s spoiler-FULL review. She was super eager to write about it because she was literally bursting with SQUEEE!!!!! when the credits started to roll. We thought, since this was such a unique movie, it deserved a unique take on the review-side.

This will probably be one of the easier reviews I’ve ever written, just because I refuse to discuss any plot details, or even any of the characters, to any great length.  All I feel safe saying is what you’ve seen on any trailer: Group of typical college kids (your regular archetypes) go on a road-trip party weekend to a cabin in the woods, drinking, sex, and gore ensues.

Appearances can be deceiving, because this is the least “typical” horror/slasher flick I’ve seen in, shit, I have no idea how long. Every time I thought I had things figured out, I was surprised, again and again. The twists and turns kept punching me in the face, and I was glad to take ’em. The performances are (mostly) fresh and fun, the writing is sharp and we genuinely laughed out loud, really hard, many times. The harbingers of awesome, Joss Whedon (Buffy, Avengers, Toy Story, Serenity, Firefly) and Drew Goddard (Cloverfield, Lost) have brought this gift of originality and delight to us, and we give thanks. Many thanks.

If you still haven’t heard much about this one, consider yourself lucky and act quickly on your current virginal status. Go get that cherry popped – now – because you may not have this much fun at a film for years to come. I seriously freaking mean that.

~Annie

Loko for Loki

Had a sort of way-cool experience the other night, and figured it made for good blog fodder…

My lil’ sis, (Prof) X and I, spontaneously decided to go stalk/gawk some of the filming that’s being done for the upcoming Avengers film, that’s actually happening somewhat nearby our lovely midwest hellhole.  We figured we’d just go see what we could see, especially since X is madly in love with the bloke who plays Loki, Tom Hiddleston.  She was hoping the Tarot cards were correct, and we’d have some sort of insane celeb encounter, but my expectations were way lower.

This was a week of night shoots happening from 6pm – 6am, so we had to perform this stake-out in the middle of the night, although we knew that several major cast members were going to be there.  We arrived to see about 30-50 people milling around the caution tape, hoping for a glimpse.  Some sort of scene with a couple hundred extras trying to flee from an opera house was being filmed, surrounding a beer garden in “Germany” (all the road signs were redone in German and the cars sitting around were European-ized).

We did get to see the actual Captain America (Chris Evans), Thor (Chris Hemsworth), and Loki battling every time “Action” was yelled over a loudspeaker (which was fucking cool to hear in person, like on a FOR REALSIES, REAL, GINORMOUS, SUMMER, HOLLYWOOD MOTION PICTURE).  We were kind of geeking out.  These glimpses did not come easy mind you, about 15 of us were stuffed into an RTA booth wielding binoculars and cameras, just waiting for anything cool to happen.

At one point, a small group of Bieber look-alikes wandered by and some production person came out, gave them all bracelets, and they got to go into the trenches.  After about a half hour they came out, and explained that one of the boys was the nephew of the chief of police, so it was arranged that they could visit the set.  They informed us that not only were the three superheros in there, so was ScarJo herself, although we never caught a glimpse of her.

Around 12:30 am, Chris Evans left the set, and we were standing about 30 feet from where vehicles were entering and exiting, so the few of us there waved to him and he sheepishly waved back – he seemed kind of introverted.  Or maybe he thought we were all stupid.  Around 1 am, I notice Loki walking toward the SUVs, with a few assistants around him, also in full costume.  My sis begins jumping up and down, and he noticed and laughed and waved.  As his vehicle drove by, he rolled down the window and leaned out and yelled back.  It was quite fun, especially since we kind of figure the reason he did that was because she was so excited – the rest of us were just standing around.  As he drove away, Lil’ Professor X was so happy and thrilled, she might as well have been on crack.

What makes this whole story a billion times cooler? (Or lame, depending on your opinion) We wake up the next morning to find the video of what happened on YouTube! Unbeknownst to us, a few guys nearby were filming (with a damn fine camera, I might add) and caught the whole thing.  You can’t see us, but you can hear the sis professing her love, and I’m the nerd who says “Thomas Hiddleston” (in answer to some other random strangers asking us if we even knew his real name).  Said video (shown above) has wound up on some other sites, and has been reblogged, gif’ed, and screencapped to the high heavens, due to the ginormous internet female fanbase that Hiddleston inspires, the “Hiddlestoners.”  Hell, a cast member even tweeted one such gif.  Man, I flipping love pop culture, and the internet.  What a bizarre world we inhabit.

X’s story of her most magical night, in her own cuckoo words:       http://strobe.tumblr.com/post/9414152493

~Annie