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Cabin in the Woods: The horror is in the tropes

1 Nov

One day, I will celebrate Halloween again.  Despite it being Patty’s favorite holiday, since we got together over six years ago, it’s pretty much been a wash.  I’m often out of the country.  One of us invariably has the flu.  It rains.  Last night was no exception.

I tried to be festive though, and told Patty we should watch a horror movie of her choosing, even though my relationship with the genre is largely one of complicated disinterest, general anxiety, and eye-related phobias.  Thankfully, she chose Cabin in the Woods.

Unfortunately for me as a blogger (a blogger who is, by the way, doing NaBloPoMo instead of NaNoWriMo, since the traditional November activity feels sort of redundant to the many writing tasks I have going on right now, mostly involving critical revisions on several projects and a lot of stuff I’m hoping to be able to discuss RSN), Cabin in the Woods is best experienced if you know absolutely nothing about it going in.  Which means it’s ow my job to convince you to watch a movie I can’t tell you anything about.  Ooops.

For me, because Cabin in the Woods plays with tropes and the fourth wall, it was a really fun viewing experience, but I know that’s a YMMV stylistic choice for a lot of audiences.  Perhaps more interestingly, and to my surprise, I was even disappointed when it got markedly less creepy (and a little bit lazy for it) in its second half.

It also made me feel a fondness for Joss Whedon’s work that I haven’t in while.  I like Buffy and I love Angel (despite that terrible “Connor is annoying” season that’s unfortunately structurally essential), am fond of Firefly; and am actually intrigued by Dollhouse. Yet, there’s only so much of the patented and interchangeable Joss Whedon tough!waif heroine device I can take.  My attempts to care about Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. (I don’t; it’s low-rent American Torchwood) have highlighted my irritation with that persistent weakness in Whedon’s work, while also leaving me deeply resistant to the idea of clever being enough in any script.

If you don’t like horror, Cabin in the Woods is the horror movie for you.  It’s funny in its send-up of the genre; it gets less scary after the first 30 minutes; the gore is extremely fake; and Bradley Whitford as a guy with a really important job that is death by 1,000 paper cuts is always a joy.

Anyone else got any horror movie recommendations for people who hate horror?  Because after another foiled Halloween, they would fill my house with peace, joy, and microwave popcorn.

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3 Responses to “Cabin in the Woods: The horror is in the tropes”

  1. dabhug November 1, 2013 at 12:14 pm #

    We watched Little Shop of Horrors last night. Bowl of popcorn present. I don’t like horror at all and I haven’t seen Cabin in the Woods, but I’ll add it to my list on your recommendation.

  2. Seth Gordon November 1, 2013 at 12:38 pm #

    Two understated but creepy horror movies that I have enjoyed are The Broken and Pontypool.

  3. redstapler November 1, 2013 at 3:00 pm #

    Josh and I watched Insidious last night, which I enjoyed. It’s low on the jump scares, and there’s minimal gore. The majority of the horror is psychological, and plays on fears of the beyond. I also appreciated how the strongest character was an older woman. There’s other stuff, too, but…spoilers.

    My head canon for Cabin in the Woods is that its finale coincides with the end of Angel.

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