Film The Cabin In The Woods Discussion

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02:33:01 PM Dec 24th 2013
Seeing as how this movies been out for well over a year, can we unspoiler everything please? It's just stupid that everything's blanked out.
01:27:40 AM Dec 25th 2013
Everything? Not unless there are really no spoilers whatsoever about any part of the movie. Most things? Please go ahead. This page looks like Swiss cheese; it isn't supposed to have this many spoiler tags at any point.
09:06:13 AM Aug 7th 2013
The page contains the comment "Do not add Five-Man Band" with no explanation given. Most of the band is obvious:
  • Smart Guy: Marty
  • Big Guy: Curt
  • Chick: Jules
The arguable ones are:
  • Leader: Dana, who's really a Final Girl and doesn't actively "lead" much.
  • Lancer: Holden, who's more of a First Mate than a Foil.
04:15:44 PM Jun 23rd 2013
Well, this page is no longer even making a pretence that the tropes are actually separated into "safe" and "spoiler", more a case of "tropes" and "old tropes at the bottom". I suggest removing the distinction because it sadly but definitely hasn't worked at all.
06:48:34 PM Jun 23rd 2013
I agree.
07:15:25 PM May 4th 2013
I saw that the page could use some cleanup (what drew my attention was the natter), so I took the liberty of fiddling with the description. I don't think it's so bad that we need a project thread for it, but if anyone disagrees, please say something! I like this film (and I assume you do, also), so I'm very open for discussion about fixing this page!
12:30:29 AM Oct 14th 2012
I'm a troper named Kevin. Who else here qualifies to be the evil beast named Kevin?
07:33:44 PM Oct 22nd 2012
It seems you own the title—except that, unlike others, I have a sneaking suspicion that (if Kevin is indeed a shout out to "Sin City") "Cabin..." does afford us a little glimpse of the not so spry lad.
12:19:51 PM Aug 12th 2012
I read a review recently which presented the interpretation that TCITW is Whedon critiquing the state of horror movies by way of the Breakfast Club. I've watched TBC since, and can't wait to watch TCITW again. The interpretation seems to 'fit' (which makes TCITW even more funny and poignant). Can anyone here add to this interpretation? Thank you.
07:15:34 PM Oct 22nd 2012
It's been a while since the question was asked but I'll take a shot at answering it anyway. I actually think it was Goddard, in the bonus materials of the DVD, (could have been JW though) who said he'd watched BC recently and empathized with the adults for maybe the 1st time. He compared that to topside and sub-level characters in "Cabin..." being equally compelling in their individual struggles.
11:39:13 PM Jul 17th 2012
The character Truman is named so as a shout out to The Truman Show, right? I haven't seen it mentioned, so now I'm second guessing myself.
12:20:26 PM Aug 12th 2012
I assumed so.
10:48:30 PM May 27th 2012
Is there any particular reason the massive monster melee at the end is called "The Carnage"? Given that it's usually capitalized in the article, it makes it sound like there was Word of God on it, but I couldn't find anything.
07:21:50 PM Oct 22nd 2012
It's been even longer since this one has been asked but I'll take a shot at it too. In the bonus materials of the DVD, JW or DG made a reference to this. If I interpreted the reference correctly, they wrote the script direction "carnage on every screen" to indicate what would be happening in the video monitors in the background.
03:15:22 PM Apr 28th 2012
The sudden appearance of the title and ear-splittingly loud music at the start film (and the end? I can't remember 100%) is a reference to another horror film that makes similar comments on the horror movie genre, that movie being "Funny Games".
07:45:45 PM Apr 23rd 2012
Ok I'll just ask, Why the hell is this movie considered so original and mindblowing? Because it references common tropes and cliches of Horror movies? Did no one See Wes Craven's New Nightmare? Or the Scream series?!
10:15:40 PM Apr 25th 2012
It's not considered mindblowing simply because it's a deconstruction, but because it's a well-made deconstruction that managed to preserve most of its twists until you're in a theater watching it. Further, it's going after rather different targets than Scream or New Nightmare.
09:40:19 PM Apr 26th 2012
edited by KingRockyIV
Let's compare the movies. I'm putting them in order of originality and meta-storytelling, as I see it:

Scream - A serial killer deliberately invokes horror movie tropes, and the characters are aware of these tropes, which are either played straight or subverted as the plot demands. Otherwise the film exists in a "real world" setting, and the most interesting the movie ever gets is when somebody says: "Hey, this is like a horror movie." If anything, this movie is the most realistic, but the least interesting, and no less contrived.

Wes Craven's New Nightmare - A movie about a movie, in which the main actress from the Nightmare on Elm Street movies fights the "real" Freddy, who can only be defeated if he is depicted in a work of art, which is the movie within the movie. In the context of reality, Freddy is an evil spirit that can show itself within films, and is directly attacking the actors who "fought" him within the films.

In The Mouth Of Madness - Yes, I'm adding this one too. A private investigator tracks down a horror writer who's works appear to be coming to life. His final book, sharing the title of this movie, ends with an apocalypse. In the end, we learn that all of reality exists because the writer created it, and the movie version of the book is actually the movie we have been watching, and as it ends, so does "reality".

Cabin in the Woods - Kids go to a cabin, raise an evil monster, and get murdered one-by-one. Their actions are manipulated by controlling operators who are deliberately conforming to certain horror tropes in order to appease ancient gods, essentially making the same "show" year after year. If the gods do not get what they expect, they rise up and end the world. As the film ends, so does the world, and we see that if the operators are filmmakers, then the gods are film watchers, who are upset that their movie defied their expectations.

People like CITW not because it references tropes and cliches, and not because it deconstructs them. The entire movie is a lampshade. Going into this movie, you expect a standard lame horror movie, and that's EXACTLY THE POINT. As the audience, YOU are the ancients, and if you end up hating the movie because it subverted your expectations, then you're just proving the filmmaker's point that nobody wants to see original horror movies anymore, they just want sex and gore.
01:47:18 AM May 15th 2012
So If I think it's a bad horror film, then that was the point? Joss Whedon intended on making a bad horror film?

Well buddy, he sure succeeded. And not because of the sex and gore thing, but because to me, it just sounds unoriginal.
12:27:08 AM May 22nd 2012
"Sounds"? You haven't seen the movie yet? :/

I'll just finish my argument by stating that the movie is definitely trying a new approach to the classic horror tropes, and they accomplish exactly what they set out to do. Whether or not you like the end result is a matter of personal taste. Most horror movies are focused on the "what", but CITW decides to focus on the "why", and it's interesting for the meta-fictional construction of the plot. It's a science-fiction/fantasy movie with a horror movie premise. If I wanted to watch a slasher flick, I'd watch Friday the 13th, or Nightmare on Elm Street, or Evil Dead, or any one of a hundred other movies we've all seen before. Whedon and Goddard understand that, so rather than making the same movie we've been watching over and over since the 80s, they gave us a different perspective. If you want a stock horror movie, you're not spoiled for choices out there. CITW is like the Inception of horror movies, except less of a mind screw. :P
10:30:02 AM May 24th 2012
Honestly in that ranking of the originality and meta-ness of the movies, I'd switc CITW and MOM. Cabin in the Woods rocked, but Mouth of Madness remains the king of meta-horror in my opinion.
09:34:19 PM Jul 3rd 2012
I watched it as a Black Comedy about horror movies rather than a horror movie. It fails as a horror movie because it's not scary but hilarious, but as a Black Comedy it pulls it off because it really shows how stupid the concept of modern horror has become. I hate to be that guy, but you just didn't get it. I suppose the explosive reaction came from the fact that it was very well-veiled, but even if you came in knowing there would be self-awareness and critical humor, I don't think anyone that saw it in it's original run quite expected it to go that far. It doesn't just stop at satire, but pretty much becomes a clear parody after a certain point. I think if you were still expecting suspense and fear by the time Dana pushes the red button, you've missed the point. Basically, The Cabin in the Woods exists because Scream and Funny Games were too subtle. People love it because they were shocked that somebody was willing to go the length that the movie was willing to go to make sure you knew that.
12:32:29 PM Aug 12th 2012
TCITW is one of my favourite recent films. I am a fan of horror, but I also like it when filmmakers 'dog-whistle' to other filmmakers, as well as to art history. I have been really disappointed by horror as of late (excepting John Carpenter's the Ward, Romero's Diary of the Dead, and that Norwegian film Trollhunter). Like the Ward, TCITW is clearly critiquing the state of horror/Sci-Fi, while at the same time present an alternative approach. Just look at the 'hanging by a thread while at the end of a rope' scene, where the dock struggle takes place on the viewing screens in a room filled with partying 'producers'. The filmmakers throw down 'Roll With the Changes' by REO Speedwagon at this heavy moment. The lyrics resonant with the filmmaker's intent, while at the same time the very feel of the song creates (for me) a juxtaposition of feelings I haven't felt since the end of Rosemary's Baby. Only this party has late 70's a.m. light rock. I could keep ranting (and will later once I get a copy of the film so I can pick at the semiotic details, lol), but suffice to say TCITW hopefully will help change the current state of horror. That Judd Nelsonesque raised hand is just so bitchin'...
05:33:28 PM Apr 23rd 2012
Does anyone else think this film desperately needs some kind of Video Game tie-in or Game-book; some kind of interactive media adaptation which allows the audience to explore the various other possibilities in the cellar?

Perhaps a fan-driven endeavor? I'd be positively tickled to see it exist.
09:55:00 PM Apr 26th 2012
I'd consider a prequel, perhaps in a different setting. I would go with "The House on the Hill", going with haunted house tropes. You could even increase the amount of controller manipulation with that environment, if the operators can move walls and make doors disappear, or make it look like the sun's come out in order to lure the kids outside.

Story possibilities include some sort of rogue operator who is secretly trying to save the kids and cause the apocalypse, or if the operators have a change of heart and try to rescue the virgin after the other sacrifices have died. That would create an interesting scenario if someone decides to take the elevator up to the house, armed to the teeth, trying to save the kid, and the operators have to send up more and more monsters to kill him AND the girl.

Bonus Twist: The final girls turns out to be a young Director, aka Sigourney Weaver.
06:36:29 AM Apr 30th 2012
Given how this movie plays with audience expectations, I'd rather they try for a sequel. Except not tell anybody it was a sequel. So you're watching a movie about Gods and monsters only to slowly realize that there are elements of this thing reminding you of that one horror movie you saw a few years back.

They could either play it straight up until the final act when they pull back the curtain and reveal that the epic fantasy movie you're watching is in reality set on Earth some time after Cabin...or they don't pull any punches and come out of the gate with the twist just as they did here.
03:24:48 PM Apr 21st 2012
Should we consider declaring this page Spoilered Rotten? Virtually everything about this movie is a spoiler, including the very first scene (which has to be some kind of record). If we assume normal spoiler policy, the page will quickly become unreadable. I suggest we pick a dividing line on what is spoilers and what isn't (perhaps everything after the scene when the RV crashes into the lake is considered a spoiler, but the amoral corporate scientists running the ritual, for example, are not).
09:04:11 PM Apr 21st 2012
As Movie Bob said in his review: Some movies are built around twists (see M. Night Shyamalan), but Cabin is built out of twists. The marketing for the movie (and the title) was intentionally vague to protect the secrets of the movie. So yeah, it is fairly impossible to clean up the tropes page of spoiler tags because anything that deals with the 3rd act of the movie will spoil the surprise. I would say everything up to the cellar can be considered safe. Once they go in there, things get tricky.
10:39:27 AM Apr 23rd 2012
edited by DunDun
A lot of people refer to the movie having three acts. Couldn't we just separate the tropes into three sections for the acts?

Act One could be before the cellar, Act Two could be between that and the elevator, and Act Three could be anything after that. Then the only things that really need to be spoiler protected would be the tropes applying to the later moments in each of the acts.

[EDIT: We should probably have a fourth section for tropes within the entire film if we do this.]
06:26:43 PM Apr 23rd 2012
Well, apparently a while back there was discussion about tropes where the title spoils. The consensus was to put them in a "spoiler" folder. I took the initiative of splitting the page into "safe" tropes and "spoiler" tropes. If you guys feel third act tropes count anyway, that's a way to handle it.
03:21:08 PM Apr 18th 2012
Okay, I know I'm not crazy. I can't be the only person who noticed that the "knife" used to stab Marty in the back is really the same trowel he later uses to hack the zombie apart.
11:27:34 PM Apr 22nd 2012
I didn't see that particular zombie have any other weapon, so I figured that the creature took the blade out of his back to continue stabbing him, but Marty someone maneuvered out of the way only to overpower the zombie. And since that's the only weapon he and Dana later have, I'm sure my assumption was right.
12:09:38 PM Apr 16th 2012
Shout Out has an example: "The US team haven't had a glitch since 1998. Guess which [sequel] came out that year." Sequel links to Evil Dead 2, a 1987 release. Its sequel is a 1993 release. I have no idea what this referring to.

Can someone clarify or fix the entry?
03:25:18 PM Apr 21st 2012
Anyone who's a better horror film buff than I, here's a starting point:
12:15:30 PM Aug 12th 2012
I'm not a trope expert (though I love them), but John Carpenter's Vampires had a 'glitch' in TCITW's universe. One slayer/crusader is allowed to go and become a vampire, while the 'ancient ritual' was also stopped. Just kind of like cognitive dissonance?
01:01:59 AM Oct 13th 2012
It is almost certainly The Faculty if it is a reference to anything at all - the drug user was the ultimate savior of the good guys, which would even explain how the chem department messed up.
11:12:07 AM Apr 15th 2012
We don't get to see the basement very well, but we're led to believe that there is an item down there corresponding to every single potential monster the teens could potentially summon. The diary for the redneck zombies, a puzzle sphere for Fornicus, and so on. Now take into account all of the monsters we get to see on the betting board and in the final act. What possible item would be used to summon a killer robot? Or evil trees? Or a unicorn?!?

I also wonder if there's ever been a year where the fresh batch of teens DOESN'T trigger any of the items, and the whole sacrifice fails by default. Nothing is summoned, and the teens enjoy a lovely weekend camping in the pristine, temperature-controlled woods. I can't help but think the controllers would just be bitter about the whole thing and decide to make it cold and rainy the whole time just because they can.
05:38:14 AM Apr 18th 2012
I rewatched the movie just so I could pay more attention to background items in the basement. There's robot toys, maybe someone winds it up. If there's could be a tiny unicorn, someone could cut themselves on the horn?
03:05:47 PM Apr 19th 2012
edited by CNagy
It's possible that the group in 1998 (1998 is the year they cited as the last time they failed, right?) didn't trigger anything. On a whim, though, I'm looking through a list of horror movies that came out in 1998 to see if any of them ended up being a significant enough subversion that the film might have been referencing it.
06:24:29 AM Apr 30th 2012
After looking at a list of 1998 horror films, the one that comes to mind for me is The Faculty. Not a single fatality amoung the students, and the monster is defeated by the stoner's custom drug. There's your chem department failure.

Of course, if the theory is they didn't trigger anything...then wouldn't we be barking up the wrong tree looking for a horror movie? Are there any teen comedy/romance films taking place at a cabin? Heck, are there any teen comedies in which the group does in fact turn around and go back after meeting the Harbinger?
02:59:07 AM Apr 15th 2012
edited by Picklelips
Did anyone assume that Marty was supposed to be a Darker and Edgier Expy of Scooby-Doo's Norville "Shaggy" Rogers? This was my immediate assumption but I haven't seen it noted elsewhere.
06:55:36 AM Apr 15th 2012
I entirely retract the "haven't seen it noted elsewhere" remark above and plead Did Not Do The Research. Fran Kranz acknowledges the Shaggy similarity.
12:22:33 AM Apr 14th 2012
Ostensibly, not every "facility" on the planet operates under the same rules with the same requirements. Otherwise we're supposed to look at a group of pre-teen Japanese schoolgirls and wonder "Which one is the Athlete, which one is the Whore..."
02:09:03 AM Apr 14th 2012
Right. Sigourney's character did mention that the tropes and roles can change with culture, yes?
01:02:25 PM Apr 14th 2012
Fair enough. So operating under this assumption, every continent has their own Ancient One they have to keep appeased with a specific ritual. As long as one ritual succeeds, all of the Ancient Ones are satisfied.

Funny thought: Does that mean the Japanese facility has a room in the basement with a dozen identical tablets with little girl glyphs on them?
05:35:56 AM Apr 18th 2012
One per continent could explain why the Thing was remade in the exact same way - the same types of people (scientists) would enable the same type of monster (the thing)
03:01:07 PM Apr 19th 2012
If only one ritual needs to succeed, then it's less like every continent has its own Ancient One and more like every country that participates is trying to appease every Ancient One with their version of the ritual. Kind of horrific, when you think about how many people end up getting sacrificed for what amounts to failsafe redundancies.
03:44:54 PM Apr 20th 2012
Related to this, how can we clean up the Fridge section of YMMV? The discussion is interesting enough, and should probably be preserved via Headscratchers, but as it stands the whole bit has degenerated into a forum-like conversation and makes it difficult to grasp some solid examples of Fridge Brilliance and Fridge Horror.
08:08:26 PM Jul 4th 2012
edited by SisterOfWar
I was under the impression that the AO's needed horror and death. So each culture has its own idea of what constitutes horror - every culture has their own scary stories and thus their own ritual. Everyone is performing the same ritual, in the sense of "let's create a scenario in which the participants will be terrified, made to suffer, and then die horribly." It's just that every culture has its own way of doing that.

Frankly, 15 years ago, very few Americans would be scared by a Stringy-Haired Japanese Ghost Girl, so using something like that in America would have been silly. It wouldn't have evoked the necessary terror, and thus the ritual wouldn't have been fulfilled. So, Japan uses their horror tropes, America uses theirs, and so on.
12:02:37 AM Apr 5th 2012
edited by BlueKevlar16
Accidental double post. I double clicked the "post" button without thinking about it.
12:02:36 AM Apr 5th 2012
I suspect that at least one of the females will be the most/one of the most competent characters, possibly an outright Action Girl, due to the fact that this is Joss Whedon we're talking about here.
05:50:38 AM Apr 5th 2012
Yeah it seems so.
12:20:33 AM Apr 14th 2012
Averted. Two female "participants", neither one is particularly competent. Even considering that Jules' actress was once a Power Ranger...
12:13:25 AM Apr 15th 2012
Aww, really? It seems that in most horror movies, girls are usually the screaming, useless idiots and I was hoping for something better from Joss.
07:03:29 AM Apr 15th 2012
No one is particularly useless. If anything, everyone's considerably more competent than the average horror movie cast — they're simply dealing with things way beyond their capabilities. Having an action girl in a cast of normal college students would've seemed a bit forced.
11:03:31 AM Apr 15th 2012
It's also worth noting that the people running things would probably not want to choose combat-capable individuals for a scenario where they are expected to be killed. The only exception would be The Athlete, but that's a requirement of the ritual and can't be helped. Not to mention that the only weapons to be found are simple hand tools that are somehow remote controlled to be dropped on command. The deadliest weapons around are the ones carried by the zombies.
06:13:41 AM Apr 30th 2012
edited by awelter84
Even if the controllers selected somebody who was capable of standing their ground in this type of situation, they've shown an ability to manipulate their behavior chemically. To the point that they made the rather inelligent Curt change his mind about splitting up within seconds.
09:40:17 PM Jul 3rd 2012
And the fact that the characters are screaming useless idiots is actually the point, considering the whole theme of trite horror tropes. However, at least some of the incompetence is clearly Invoked, as noted above.
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