Yes, I know, another The Cabin in the Woods post. It’s just that good of a movie, though. It’s the type of film that not only surprises you by how well-made it is but also surprises you by how smart it is. It’s like Scream (1996) in that it calls attention to itself–its genre, characters, and story arcs. Without giving too much away (as Christina pointed out, we hate those people), I will say that the trailer did not do it justice.
I pointed out a while back how there are at least 7 types of trailers. I consider The Cabin in the Woods to be a blueberry ice cream trailer (blueberry because just like the fruit, which I despise, I actually enjoy its flavor in muffins, ice cream, etc.). I watched the trailer months ago thinking there is no way this is going to make any money. But what do you know? Drew Goddard and Joss Whedon are geniuses. Enough about the movie itself, though. Let’s break this trailer down, shall we?
In the first 30 seconds we have a group of teenagers driving down unfamiliar roads. Even the GPS can’t figure out where they are. They’re lost and stop for directions by the only abandoned gas station around–and of course it’s a creepy one. In the next 15 seconds we meet the creepy guy who looks like he lives there and never leaves. He warns them they won’t make it out of the cabin where they’re headed alive.
By this point, I’ve pretty much written this film off. Stupid, I thought. Stupid, I said. And stupid I wanted it to be. I remember being intrigued by the rest of the trailer. “You think you know the story. You think you know the place.” The editors warn us there’s going to be a twist, but all I kept thinking was, it’s going to be a poorly written film with a pretty cool twist that will be forgettable.
Let’s list the rest of the typical elements of teen slasher/horror films included in this trailer:
- The hot guy has the ability to see the hot girl through the two-way mirror (true this specifically isn’t included in all the films, but the male gaze theory still applies. Even if she’s unaware, the audience still is.)
- The “hot” guys and girls (notice how the nerdy, stony guy is still on deck) jump in the water and are having so much fun on their vacation
- The group has a lot of fun drinking and dancing in the cabin
- The blond girl is about to get naked with her boyfriend before screaming out because we all know she’s about to die
- They agree to stay together to beat the demons but end up splitting up anyway
- Random shots of action sequences where the group is running away and screaming and trying to survive
Now, truthfully, more careful observation of the trailer will actually reveal several things I hadn’t noticed before, but I’ll leave it up to the curious folk to find out just how much they want to know before watching the film. It’s crazy creative, and like Sean pointed out in his post, the third act is one of the best I’ve seen in a really, really long time. All you have to know is that it isn’t stupid. It’s actually a really smart film. Thank you, Joss Whedon!