The Cabin in the Woods

Posted: April 13, 2012 by jperritt in Horror, Thriller
Tags: , , , , , ,

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When one reads the title, The Cabin in the Woods, ‘cliched’ comes to mind. Then if you were to analyze the characters – the jock, the pretty girl, the stoner, etc. – ‘stereotypical-horror-genre’ would be the next thought. However, Cabin is anything but cliched or stereotypical, in the ordinary sense. It certainly possesses the cliched stereotypes of horror films, but only to poke fun at them. In fact, Peter Debruge of Variety says, “[Cabin was] designed as a response to the recent torture-porn strain of horror cinema.” For those of you who might not keep up with the horror genre, torturing people and showing a lot of skin has become the staple in recent films like Hostel 1 & 2, as well as, the Saw franchise, just to name a few.

In other words, the creators behind Cabin (Joss Whedon & Drew Goddard) are sick of where the horror genre has gone and wanted to make a genuine horror film, with all the scares, that still pokes fun at its own genre. While not all of the critics love the film, most agree that it has clever twists, which must be kept secret. But have the twists gone too far? During a post-screening Q&A, one viewer asked the assembled panel, “Did you intend to make the last horror movie of all time?” Implying that there’s nothing left of the genre.

As most of the followers of this site know, we don’t always screen the films before we review the films we discuss. Some are confused by this, but we live in the age of the Internet. One can find out a great deal about any film without actually seeing the film. And from the previews and what I’ve read, Cabin takes the old conventions of horror and somewhat mixes them with a feel that’s similar to reality TV. It has been described as The Truman Show meets Evil Dead. All of the horror that unfolds on-screen is actually controlled by a secret agency. Now, I’m not going to get into all the twists, and supposedly this film isn’t in short supply of them. All of that being said, what should a Christian’s thoughts on this film be? I’m not a huge fan of the horror genre, because of where it has gone. My favorite horror film of all time is Psycho, but the horror films of today have gone in a bad direction; i.e, torture-porn (see above).

However, I think there’s something Christians can and should appreciate about Cabin. Now, if you’ve seen the previews you may be scratching your head. I admit, the film looks pretty disturbing and graphic, yet there are somethings we can appreciate.

For one, the creativity of the film. I seriously doubt I’ll watch Cabin, maybe if it comes on TV one day, but the thought and creativity put into the film is something we should applaud. Every human being – Christian or not – has been made in the image of God. God is the ultimate Creator, but we too, are creators. God has given us minds and when we steward those minds in creative ways, it brings honor to Him.

Secondly, I appreciate the fact that Whedon & Goddard are poking fun at a genre they are passionate about. In my opinion, the horror genre is in a bad state. It lacks creativity (see point one) and employs more gore in its place. Therefore, for these filmmakers to take shots at their own genre for the lack of creativity is worthy of discussing.

Lastly, and this goes along with the above point, I like that Whedon & Goddard are sticking their necks out for truth. As mentioned, they are truthfully exposing the poor condition of horror films. Chances are, many of the conventions Cabin exposes have been used by their friends in the film industry. Therefore, Whedon & Goddard are willing to upset some in order to cultivate a better craft of film.

Again, I’m not recommending that Christians rush out and purchase a ticket for The Cabin in the Woods, but I’m also not organizing a group to boycott it. I’ve spoken out against certain films, but this one seems like it could be more of a conscience issue. Because of the reasons listed above, I do feel that there are some things Christians could appreciate but must be cautious because of the questionable content.

If you abstain, that’s between you and the Lord – don’t heap guilt on those who feel that they can view it. If you do decide to see it, appreciate some of these positive aspects I’ve highlighted and reflect on the film a bit more. Just remember, those who created The Cabin in the Woods – actors, producers, the director – were all created in the image of the ultimate Creator, therefore, that Truth cannot be suppressed.

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