I learned a valuable lesson tonight watching The Cabin in the Woods with my father.
First off, the less said about this movie, the better. Joss Wedon’s masterpiece falls squarely in the “don’t read anyhing about it, just watch it” territory.
After I first saw it, I told everyone this: If you have any interest at all in horror movies, you HAVE to see The Cabin In The Woods, or you would unknowingly spend the rest of your life with a cabin-shaped hole in your heart.
Simply put, if you are the kind of person who would like this kind of movie, you will LOVE it. Meaning, it will blow your mind and be one of the wildest rides of your life. You will hail its makers as geniuses of the highest order.
If not, well…
The best I can say without spoilers is that it takes the typical slasher movie tropes - the secluded cabin in the woods, the odd assemblage of teenagers making stupid decisions and splitting up when they should stay together - and asks a simple question: Is there a reason WHY those narrative tropes show up again and again in our stories and films?
Back to my dad. He does not enjoy your typical teen-slasher film. Which is precisely why I thought he would love a movie that turns the whole genre on its head.
But there’s a disheartening feeling when you are showing someone, for the first time, a movie you absolutely love - and while you sit there, laughing and crying and screaming in pure happiness, you look over to see a stone face. Scene-after-awesome-scene.
By the end of it, I looked over, incredulous.
And then I realized: He didn’t get it.
He didn’t get it because he didn’t KNOW the tropes. He hadn’t seen these types of horror films. He had no interest in and only the vaguest knowledge of them, and thus couldn’t possibly get any of the countless references and in-jokes.
Unfortunately for him, this entire movie is one big in-joke. And my dad sat through the whole thing, watching from the outside, through no fault of his own. I am a crappy son.
It’s not that he couldn’t follow the plot. It’s simply that he could not grasp why the plot was so freaking cool.
So I revise my earlier statement: If you are familiar with what Roger Ebert described as Dead Teenager movies, run, don’t walk, to see The Cabin In The Woods.
If you’re not, run as far as you can in the opposite direction.
Now that you've seen the film...
Wow. Freaking wow. Its makers are geniuses of the highest order.