Joss Whedon and Drew Goddard's 2011 THE CABIN IN THE WOODS is a postmodern comedy which takes the familiar tropes and conventions of horror movies to unexpected places. Witty, fun and so incredibly meta that it works both as a film in its own right as well as successfully constructing an elaborate metaphor for the relationship between those that produce and those that consume the horror genre, the movie features a pre-Thor fame Chris Hemsworth as one of the doomed teenagers journeying to the titular cabin with Bradley Whitford, Richard Jenkins, Sigourney Weaver and (spoiler alert) gargantuan Eldritch abominations among his tormentors in chief.
While we're being all meta, I'm intrigued to see what the rest of the Bad Dads think about this movie; call it an experiment of sorts as I force them down a path they would not normally have wandered. I wonder what they'll think?
Cabin in the Woods
Reegs: We watched the cabin in the woods, which isn't really a horror movie, but can have some horror moments in it. And the premise of the whole movie is essentially a spoiler. So with that out of the way, let's get going.
Sidey: Yeah. It's written by
which I didn't know,
until I found
Sidey: he did Buffy
He's also a
complete and utter asshole.
Reegs: Allegedly, according to, according to quite a few people now. Yeah. He's got a bad rep in Hollywood at the moment, but he was the guy who did the he did doll's house. He did Firefly.
Sidey: I floated the event, first Avengers movie and the second Avengers movie.
Reegs: Yeah. He's got good, good geek cred.
And he did this in collaboration with drew Goddard, who went on to direct in the planet of the apes
Reegs: And they wrote this movie over the course of a weekend.
So it starts with It kind of two middle-aged guys citizen and Hadley, which is the Richard Jenkins. I recognize it. I never complacent. The other one is Bradley Whitford. Who's been in loads of stuff, the west wing. He's in Handmaid's tale at the moment.
My wife quite fancies him with his, he's got a great beard. And they're just walking through some kind of enormous sort of facility type thing discussing like really Monday. Office workers to stuff about marriage and children and that sort of thing. And then a, a sort of a lab assistant rocks up and tells them about there's been an incident at the stock home facility and they don't seem particularly perturbed by this.
They say that the Japanese will get the job done and and it will be fine. And then they just kind of drive off. A bit of a strange opening to this movie. Is that where you were expecting.
Sidey: through me.
Pete: had you see this film before side.
Sidey: know it's my
Pete: this, this was me, obviously not being a horror fan, trying to avoid all horror films at all costs.
Until I'm basically forced to watch them by year decks. But this is not how I expect. Yeah, it wasn't how I expected it. But to be honest, I was like,
Reegs: did you know anything at all about the movie before you went in? Yeah,
Pete: I didn't. Yeah. Apart from, it was only when I started watching the film.
Like during the film and it started getting a little bit like, sort of w you know, you started working out, was coming together.
I remembered that you'd mentioned it before. And one of the top
Sidey: Lifts tough. I've left.
Pete: it was. So that was my only sort of like recollection I'd forgotten the name of the film that you'd mentioned, but then I was, oh, this must be the one case. It was like, this is fairly like, that's, you know, a kind of mass Fetty unique, I would imagine in like, cinema.
So. Yeah. It's, I'm expecting cabin in the woods. Pretty much. It's going to David. It says on the 10, there's like a cabin that's like kind of like
Pete: distorted on the, the poster. Yeah.
Pete: But I didn't really think, I just thought this is going to be an hour and a half of people getting chased around words and hacked to pieces and I'm going to shit.
Reegs: Well, let's see, because it does then go to sort of that classic version of the story where we, we now shift to I think a college room or a bedroom and Dana and Jules are there. They're there to sort of, you sort of got the slutty blonde, I guess, and
Pete: it immediately.
I said, she'll die first called it immediately.
Reegs: the rules of horror, isn't it? you. Don't have to watch loads of horror to know the rules and how this movie sort of subverts and deconstructs them a little
Sidey: He really likes that kind of Scooby gang kind of vibe cause that that's where the nickname of the gang was in Buffy, scoop, which I think came from a fan message boards.
And that was adopted. but this again,
it's like, it's got. all the,
Sidey: it could have, it could have been, you know, Daphne velvet from,
Reegs: I never made the connection, but yeah. It's so
Pete: so I've watched this with Cindy and she straight away was like, is this guy meant to be shaggy from Scooby-Doo or
Sidey: stoner. You did the, The jock guy? Yeah.
Reegs: And so we are introduced to all of these characters, but actually they're quite they're little twists on those things because although Chris Hemsworth. Is a big athletic guy. We learn very quickly that he's on a scholarship and he's actually a very, you know, he's a, he's a, he's a decent student and he is actually very nice to his girlfriend and they go in away together.
And the girlfriend actually isn't dumb and ditzy and blonde at all.
Sidey: She just
Reegs: her hair, you know? Everybody's got slightly more dimensions to them than
Pete: she dies at blond cause that's a theater, like a thing
Reegs: He comes out later.
Pete: So it's kind of right. I didn't pick up on that watching. I just see, she seemed know she is the stereotype.
Yeah, yeah. Yeah. I'm just waiting for things like, you know, in the first. Once you've gotten past the first couple of scenes, if nothing like outrageously horrible has happened then, and then it's like, sort of establishing the story you say for a little bit, you know, they're going to a cabin in the woods.
I spoken about it. Hemsworth's cousins.
Bought it or,
Reegs: Cousins bought
Pete: yeah. So, you know, they're going there. So like, this is a, they're not like these to, you know, get threat 30 yards down the road and someone start stabbing them. There is going to be when they get
Reegs: to the cabin.
Pete: woods. So,
Reegs: So they've got to get a collection of people first. And of course, you know, they get another one of Hemsworth mates.
I forget his name. It's probably down here somewhere. And then you get the stoner character played by.
Pete: Shaggy from Scooby-Doo.
Reegs: from Scooby-Doo. What did you think about this character? I mean, he turns up in a shitty old car, like loads of collections of like tropes that you've seen in other things like smoke, spilling out the window, and then he collapses his bong into a
Reegs: which is pretty cool.
Pete: because obviously there's usually like the, the, you know, the, the joker or like the jester kind of character.
In the sorts of things. Yeah, I mean, he was, he, all of the characters, the ones that stuck around long enough kind of like grew on me a little bit as the film went on, as I started realizing that this is not your average kind of horror film, there was more going on there. And I, I stopped sort of like shitting myself.
Cause I just like that. That's what I thought this was going to be is exactly what I don't like is like just an hour and a half of just scares, go. Yeah. Like just dragging out
Sidey: nothing like that. Really?
Pete: No, no. I mean, there's some bits that, cause obviously it starts going that way. When, when you get to the woods and things start happening then and people start getting like, executed, like fairly brutal.
He like hats, like heads hacked off and shit, but yeah, there was more to it
Sidey: The mirror, the mirror scene. would you have
Sidey: two-way mirror when she's getting undressed and the black stuff? Well, I got consent
in the next
Reegs: I'd have probably done what he did. If I had a body that looked
Sidey: like it.
Reegs: swap it round and just kind of flex flex a bit,
Pete: I'd like to have seen that with you and your actual body. Yeah. Yeah. That would have been
Reegs: know, it's sort of hypnotic, like looking at alarms.
Pete: Yeah. Sexy lava lamp. Yeah.
Reegs: So they get to the cabin and hi-jinks CU they get stoned. They damn jewels to get off with the Wolf's head the
Pete: time, obviously a mentor the whole time. And so there are, this wall is going to come to life and terror face
Sidey: just staring at it. Like It's going to move. there's going to be like,
Movement in it that, you know, nothing
Reegs: a little homage to evil, dead to that. In fact, the whole cabin, the whole set up is very much evil, dead and evil dead too.
Yeah, so she gets off with that. Then we cut back to oh, one thing we've missed gutted because this is one of my favorite moments in the film is when they meet the harbinger. Yeah. So they stopped forget they stopped for petrol and it's.
The attendant, his name's Mordecai. He's just this crazy bloke that you've seen in a billion horror movies over the years.
He's just sort of warning, warning them, the locals, don't like the all kind and blah, blah, blah, blah, blah. Yeah.
Pete: Yeah. You know, you're well off the beaten track when the petrol station looks like that the attendant behaves like that.
Reegs: but then we get a bit of a subversion of that as well, because then he phones facility now.
So we get the two worlds connected and he doesn't realize he's on speakerphone. Yeah. During his poor tend to sort of speaking about, you know, the thirst of the elders will be quenched and all this stuff. And, and then Bradley white and Richard Jenkins are just sort of sitting there laughing and the in the control room, but they, they that's how it connects again, because citizen and and Hadley are sitting there watching the events that are unfolding in the cabin on a giant screens in front of them, just as you, the viewer, watching those guys, watching the people
Pete: you also get the, the bit where they drive through the tunnel. And I, I sit, is it like an Eagle or like a bit it's a big bird of prey, like sort of it's just following along.
Yeah. Flight into like this force field that I was like, what the fuck's going on here?
Reegs: I sort of wish they hadn't put that in the movie because it does and undercut the funniest joke in the movie, I think which occurs when the carnage kicks off. Which is our, and the carnage kicks off because they go down to the basement and in the basement, it's just everything that's ever been in any old horror movie is in that basement
Pete: So these are all like, these are all iconic things that
Reegs: They're sort of references to things. So you see a circular version of the puzzle box that they use in the hell raiser thing.
There's some references to some other stuff when they start reading it out, basically any one of these things look stodgy as fuck. And in fact it is because back in the control room, they're all taking bets on. Who's going to finish off this group of people and there's a huge white board. That had some fantastic stuff on it.
Pete: A new that you found out that one of your guys is obsessed with a Merman.
Reegs: Yeah he just wants it to be a
Reegs: desperate for it to be a Merman. When was I.
Sidey: there in the basement?
Reegs: Oh, yeah, they're in the basement. Eventually she does pick up the rednecks diary and it's got some Latin in it and she starts reading all this redneck stuff about how they had to, I don't know. It's just a general redneck zombie shit and how they'll come back one time, but it's got Latin at the end and she decides to read,
Pete: no, it's an incantation.
Reegs: the Latin. She reads the Latin and redneck. Yeah. Come up from the ground back then we cut to the control room. Everybody's whooping for joy here. Come the redneck zombies. Every, the people who didn't have them, I think maintenance one because they had rednecks on
Pete: let's just share it with the intern.
Reegs: Yeah. And they had to share it with Scott. The intern. Yeah.
Pete: And then there's a girl who comes up and say, I've got some business owners.
I know this site, that's just regular zombies. This is like some be torture fam rednecks on B torture family or something. Yeah.
Reegs: Yeah. So the redneck zombie talk to your family have been released just as Jules who has been now squirted with a kind of pheromone to make her even dumber.
Pete: I think it's a to make it, they talk about
Reegs: make them horny
Pete: Basically make her hernia. So
Reegs: because we're starting to find out this is part of us, of a rich. That has to be performed for, for those downstairs, but like trapdoor, right?
this is the, this is the last hope for
I was going to say, Let's try to
think of the word for it. Like appeasing the, whatever it is. Yeah. the diabetes. Yeah.
Reegs: Yes. Well, it, it turns out this is all part of an elaborate ritual that is meant to appease the deities that live underground, and they have to see a certain archetypes, a jock, a fool, a slut, basically
Sidey: has to die
Reegs: Virgin. They have to be killed in a certain audience in a certain order.
And it has to happen somewhere in the world to appease these people.
And you see shots of these things actually taking place with their own genre conventions, like in, when they cut to Japan, it's like a wet head girl,
Reegs: thing, like the ring or the back of one of them. You see king Kong bizarrely dead on the floor.
Sidey: You'd like to repeat
Pete: I don't think I would
Sidey: that's good.
Pete: skirt like possess children,
Sidey: climbing out the TV.
Sidey: They sort of get
that they get wind that something's up because someone finds one of the guys finds
Pete: Oh yeah.
Sidey: they saw it. They get wind that Something's
right. And they're being watched
and they're somehow being manipulated.
Reegs: Yeah. And he traces that camera actually back to effectively the elevator that brought the redneck zombies to the surface, by this point we've missed something.
Pete: that's aware of this.
I mean, yeah, he's the only one who's aware. Joel's gets a head cart, like a head cut off. Everything's going, getting a bit fucked up. They don't realize that there's anything other than like zombies.
to get them at this point. And then they will get back in the camper van and they try and make it through back through the tunnel tunnel gets collapsed.
Reegs: They forgot to do it
Sidey: there's, There's panic in the,
Pete: in the control room.
Sidey: Oh my God. They're going to get away. And something's
not working in the. desk, he has to Hotwire why the explosion basically to get them
Reegs: So they caught on this ravine and Hemsworth they've been showing all the way through. There's been conspicuous shots of a motorbike that was on the back of the RV. They showed you the RV first with zoom, you know, and I was thinking, you don't keep showing us that motorbike unless you're going to do something with it.
Well, they do do something with it. Hemsworth, and, and what's interesting about this as well as this movie was made in 2011, which just predates Chris Hemsworth's appearance. Thor. So he's not actually, although this was released a bit later,
earlier, but the studio went bankrupt. So he was casting
pretty much based on this,
Reegs: based on this, but it wasn't released.
So then they released it later because now he had all this cash, but anyway, he, he goes out he says, he's going to try and save everybody. You can jump across the ravine on his motorbike.
That's why I wish we didn't have the shot on the bird
Sidey: It's still fucking surprised me though. I thought, I didn't know what
it was just not going to make it or it was going to be, it would
crash into the side and
he'd somehow climb
But no, you get the forcefield bang and he's dead.
Reegs: It's really horrible. Yeah. So with nowhere to go, they go back to the cabin. Now I think we've only got mark.
Pete: well, they got the it's the camper van Marty's already been pulled out of a window. You're assuming he's dead.
And then they get back in. So the forgetting those people's names, but the clever one and the Virgin back at the camper van, they're driving it.
Well, he's the clever guy is driving. He then gets fucking stabbed through the throat cause there's a zombie in the back. And then they end up in the lake. She manages to climb out and then
attacked she gets, she's basically getting beaten up, but it's, it's quite, it's quite a cool scene because at this point they assume everyone else is dead.
And then it's like the reveal that within the facility or, or part of the process, the ritual is that the, the Virgin doesn't actually have to die.
Pete: She can either she can die or survive. And it doesn't matter as long as she's the last one. And they're like celebrating, like the cracking out the champagne and every.
Getting the shots on the go. And then like in the background, on the screens, you can just see her getting absolutely battered by this massive zombie.
Reegs: It's horrible as well.
Pete: I'm sure they, obviously, they have a lot of controls over what goes on. They could have stopped this, like w you know, they could have, I dunno, I presume,
Reegs: she doesn't have to die.
Sidey: or they like
Pete: to call it that to get the zombies or the, like the monsters, whatever, back in the box.
So they could do that. They could like save her, but they're more interested in just celebrate. And whooping and pat
Reegs: I just assumed that that has to play out as it has to play out so she could kill the redneck zombies.
That would be fine, or they can kill her. But
Pete: the only survivor there's
Sidey: No, no,
Reegs: She's not Marty is still alive because his Weed has kept him immune to some of the tricks that they've been trying to play on him. They spiked his stash, but he had a secret stash. Of course he did. And so his perception has been clear the whole way through, he's been sort of talking conspiracies about shadowy, you know, organizations controlling your movements and stuff.
And of course, he's right in the course of this. And he then finds his way with. Dana into the lift. Yeah.
Pete: And you own S you see the zombie that is like, obviously pulled him out the window. And he's like, dissembled it with a trail or dismembered it with a child. And it's just like
Reegs: on the floor. And they get into the elevator. She, she says, we've got to go and he's like, go where there's literally nowhere for us to go. So we need to go down. So now this is getting interesting because the two worlds are going to connect. But before that happens, we get treated to this scene of basically every genre, horror genre
Reegs: that there could possibly be ghosts, werewolves
Pete: Creepy kids with teeth for face, for a face. Yeah.
Reegs: Really hell raiser, knockoff just everything in all in these kind of glass cubes that have been moving around.
Do you see the giant.
Reegs: it was just in the top right-hand corner is just a giant cat
Sidey: I probably could have done with pausing it and taking it. all in really. I didn't do that
Reegs: worth doing that. And, and on the board as
Reegs: the board has got some funny stuff on it. So the cubes are all moving around. Eventually they realize in the control room don't need that.
The two of them is still alive. They see them on the video feed, so they bring them down to the law.
Pete: the director
Reegs: the director
Pete: to the control room whilst they're celebrating too.
One of them still alive. So they know that it's it's not yet a done deal
Reegs: and they bring them down to the elevators in and you're right.
Peter, this was a scene that I referenced in our top five elevators. I'm sure. After having seen that, you can see
Pete: Yeah. It's, it's like, it's like nothing else I've sort of seen before.
It's like what this film does is, is surprise you, it surprises you, you kind of sometimes in a really good way sometimes in a, not necessarily as a good way, but it's definitely. Yeah, full of things you can't predict always what's going to happen next at all. And then obviously, then, I mean, there's already been horror elements in it like that, a couple of the things around the cabin and then like this like turns into like an absolute fucking carnage when they get down into the facility, because like the, our sort of two heroes get into the control room where there's a big purge button and it releases all of the monsters at the same time into the facility.
Reegs: That was a great idea. When they designed the facility, having a single button that releases all the monsters into the
Reegs: good idea, wasn't it? And they do come and you get sort of 10 minutes of just carnage.
I mean, the sorts of things that you see a giant snake, like, you know, ripping at someone. But one of my favorites, I think, was the unicorn. It just stopped to go through the
Pete: unnecessary. There's like some kind of like robotic scorpion thing with like a chat, like a search chainsaw for a title it's fucking mental. Yeah.
Reegs: it's just, and you know, it's just carnage in the facility.
By this point, citizen and Hadley desperately trying to get a lid on things, but they can't they're in the control room and a guy who looks like Michael B. Jordan, but isn't is defending them he gets killed. There's a big explosion.
Pete: Th this, so is it Hadley? Yeah, it's Hadley. And, and this is like when he was lying there and then you could see so uncovered. I'm like, oh, I was straight when I started laughing to myself. I know what was coming here. I know.
Reegs: You actually hear like the flippers slapping. First, and then he, the Merman comes through the fog and there's a kind of, is he kind of happy to go that way? Kind of a little bit, little bit.
Sidey: he had to choose
Pete: Yeah, cause he's, he's written for the Merman, the whole Wayfair. And he, he said something like really, or, or you got to be kidding or something like that. And then it's like, cut the Merman, like sets upon him and like blood like flies out of his blow
Reegs: Oh, it's horrible. It's horrible. Dana, Marty make their way lower and lower into the facility, which reveals a much more
Much more like the ritual chambers, I guess you'd expect for something like
Sidey: this and
Reegs: yeah, because they've been lowering blood of the guys who've been killed.
I didn't really understand how that works, but it's fine. Sigourney Weaver explains that.
When she explains the premise of the film, that this is all part of a ritual that needs to be done, because there are these huge gods that live underneath the earth. And if it's not done this way, they'll destroy everything.
And she's basically left Dana with the idea that she has to kill Marty to complete the ritual.
First they off the director, don't they? Because they're just not going to do that. I think it's Marty gets rid of her. Isn't
Pete: No, I think it's so Dana's about to, I think it looks like she's, she's thinking about shooting.
She gets attacked by a werewolf
Sidey: That's fine. He's
Pete: patients. The redneck is like craps into the facility and she then stops. I think she stabs the director
Reegs: and they both fall off. And what did you think about the point of, cause at this point they sit back and smoke a joint.
Sidey: if this is how it's got to be, then it's not worth saving. You know, it's not, we're not gonna, Yeah.
We're not going to Just keep doing these ritual sacrifices.
It's Let's just end it now.
Reegs: I mean, she should have shot him. Shouldn't she let's be clear
Pete: Yeah, absolutely.
Reegs: because the thing that happens next is an enormous hand just comes flying up from the ground and smashes everything. And then I guess we're led to believe it's Armageddon and the the gods, the Eldritch abominations themselves have risen to the earth.
Reegs: and that's it. Yeah,
Sidey: So it was
nothing like what I was expecting.
Pete: Yeah, same. It's like, oh obviously the, the poster, the title, it couldn't be more
Sidey: I didn't know Josh Sweden was attached to It I did sort of remember
remember if it was this film that you'd talked about and I obviously didn't want to go looking around before I'd seen it.
So in the back of my mind, I was thinking is this the form of the lift? I don't know. So it was, it was pretty you know, it was a blank canvas smuggling. It was a
bit of a roller coaster because a lot of the time I was just thinking, well, it's just doing the scream thing, you know, of telling you how a horror
film works and
doing all the,
you know, sending up all the stereotypes.
Reegs: I think scream is, is a point of comparison. I think this movie is much more. The audience, this
Reegs: more about, it's kind of saying you wanted all this stuff and then you went all postmodern and you,
Sidey: Yeah. I enjoyed It a lot more than scream. I have to say I've really, really enjoyed it. It was it was sort of funnier and
Pete: well, it, it, it takes to cause scream. Obviously the, you know, the, the joke is. The it's like, it's a kind of a parody of itself in the, you know, there's a load of people talking about what happens when there's a murderer on the loose, and then they will getting off one by one when they leave the room and stuff.
So, and it,
Reegs: in a way that met up that whole Metta thing that screamed did really kind of like smashed horror up for ages because it couldn't work for a while.
Pete: What it did, is it sort of, is it LA it was laughing at itself and LA and everything else as well. Whereas like before that, by up to that point, see, I say I'm not a horror fan, but I've watched the shining.
I thought it was fucking fantastic film alien. And the alien franchise was certainly the first. Brilliant film that horror films like that. For me as holler, you can say it. So it is so far, of course it is, but that, you know, people are getting fed, but they, they're not films that I couldn't watch and wouldn't watch and didn't enjoy.
They're brilliant, brilliant films, but it's almost like after that is that after sort of scream and then all of these kinds of like parodies and then going back to the, the, you know, the, the stereotype modern horror films, where is the cabin in the woods and stuff like, has there been anything like.
Alien shining like totally different films, obviously, but like that kind of horror where it's like built up through the, like the story, the plot, the mood,
Sidey: Well, I would say
Reegs: mid summer is like that. And both areas to films, Midsummer and hereditary at both like that, where it's much more about atmosphere as is the Babadook, which are the, some of the superior horror films I've been talking about, which are much less about sort of Jason's style slashes and that.
So, you know, and not torture porn either, which I think this movie was kind of having to go out as well. But yeah, there's a lot of interesting stuff going on in the hallway.
Pete: Yeah. I mean, this was, so I D I enjoyed it. I had the fare for a while. There was like a bit of like, you know, so it's like trying to like, maybe like accidentally look away and stuff.
' cause it,
you know, there was enough intrigue, right from the get go, like who these guys in this facility what's going on here?
Why is that guy, you know, that guy's then at the petrol station rung in, why is the bird hit, falls failed? Like there's enough going on to keep you like, okay, this is not normal. It's like now just go back to like a slash of like film in the woods, but the fuck is all the rest of it about, so it kept me intrigued.
Some of it was just ludicrous.
But some of it was genuinely funny and like the, the, the sort of like the actual, like horror elements of it, or the gore elements of it were like became almost like sort of comedy
Reegs: it's yeah, absolutely.
I mean, I personally, I, maybe this is just semantics, but I don't really consider the cabin in the woods, a horror
Reegs: It's a, it's a comedy more than anything. And it's really about, it's about filmmaking and it's deconstruction of the, of the genre and how the audience, you know, the, how audience expectations.
The can, can sort of malformed the final product stuff. I think all of that stuff is, is like way more interesting and peaks takes it really out of the horror genre in some ways.
Sidey: Yeah. The studio did go bass before they got chance to release it. So it was kind of sitting around on a shelf somewhere for a while, but it did eventually obviously get released budget for, it was $30 million.
Pete: I'm sure it's a win off because I'm sure a lot of people, this was like different and new and I'm sure a lot of people jumped
Reegs: Yeah. I would say
Sidey: this was probably yeah. Made 70 million. Yeah. it's
pretty decent. Yeah, they
MGM saw dailies of the scenes with
Various scenes with Chris Hemsworth. And on the basis of that, they signed him on for red Dawn.
Reegs: I've seen that as well. Actually the one where the Koreans invade
Sidey: not seen
Reegs: or the Russians. Yeah.
Sidey: And then, and then from that also thought. Hmm. And then the timeline gets all jumbled up, because this came first, but
again, came later but it was really good. I was surprised I really enjoyed it.
Reegs: Yeah. And I, the reason I picked it is because I didn't think, I think you guys would have steered clear of it just because of the title.
And I thought it
Reegs: different that is worth seeing.
Sidey: Yeah. Good, good good choice.