Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Day Three Hundred and Sixty-five - The Cabin in the Woods, "THIS... IS... IT!"

I had absolutely no idea what to expect the first time I saw The Cabin in the Woods. I knew it was done by Drew Goddard and Mutant Enemy (see: Joss Whedon, et al.) so I had high hopes, but never was I expecting to be as blown away by its complete and utter subversion of the horror genre.

To put it simply, The Cabin in the Woods is the perfect homage to all of what encompasses Horror Films... and is a damned hilarious comedy as well. It's so good that it's supplanted every other Horror movie in existence to become my favorite of all time.

The story is fairly straight-forward, but is told in an unusual manner. In fact, just based on the cold open (which features key antagonists Bradley Whitford and Richard Jenkins, as well as Whedonverse alum Amy Acker), you wouldn't think it a horror film at all... until the title card gives you a screaming jump scare and the stereotypical victims are all introduced.

As the college kid weekend getaway progresses and is contrasted with the bunker scenes, the film's strange conspiracy begins to reveal itself and the audience gleans that the whole shebang is a very carefully choreographed human sacrifice to ancient eldritch horrors. The victims choose their doom and the bureaucrats do their damnedest to make sure said doom comes to pass, for the survival of our entire species.

Of course, things go wrong and even as the pretty young things die one by one, the survivors manage to stumble on the inner workings of the sacrifice and throw a giant monkey-wrench into the works, dooming both themselves and us all to Hell on Earth at the hands of the ancient ones... and you're not quite sure they're wrong for doing so.

While I like how pretty much every one of the victims inverts their stereotypes in entertaining ways, the real stars of the show for me are Richard Jenkins and Bradley Whitford. While I love both of them for the tremendous character actors that they are (see them in films/series like Killing Them Softly, The West Wing, and The Good Guys... Rich in the first and Brad in the latter two), it's here that their humor and presence really shines. From the laughter they inspire picking on The Harbinger (Tim de Zarn) and their cute dance routine to the serious moments like the quiet prayer Jenkins intones after the first death, these two "puppetmasters" really make the movie for me.

Cabin also bears the distinction of having Chris Hemsworth pre-Thor as Cabin was filmed just after Star Trek, but was shelved for several years, first due to 3D post conversion and then MGM's bankruptcy. Thank the Old Gods that it eventually came out (the 3D wasn't necessary at all), but I'm sort of glad Thor was released to theaters first as it provides fodder for a hilarious riff of Hemsworth during the keg scene ("ANOTHER!") that I always say no matter how many times I watch the film. Not that the film deserves riffing, as it's pretty close to perfection in my opinion, but is one of those movies that can take it (and take it well) even though riffing is not required.

Quick shoutout to Sigourney Weaver who makes a late game cameo not unlike her role in Pegg and Frost's Paul. It's a last minute treat that sends the movie over the top, I think.

And... that's pretty much it.

An entire year of Netflix: movies, series, documentaries, three hundred and sixty-five days of media all delivered over the internet at, what, nine bucks a month? I spent a hundred and eight dollars (plus electricity) for my daily doses of television and film. Sure, there was plenty of content that I wanted to see which never hit the Stream or dropped off before I could get to it, but there were also tooooons of episodes and movies that I never blogged about... usually binges of MLP:FiM or Phineas & Ferb, Cosmos (before it left) or MacGyver.

Good times.

I think I'll do a retrospective of some sort tomorrow... but, tonight? It's time to party. A full YEAR of Netflix. Wow. Kind of tearing up a little.

Thanks for reading, Potatoes~

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