Tonight I saw Cabin In the Woods, a Joss Whedon and Drew Goddard film which puts an interesting spin on the classic Urban legend. I loved the creative energy in the film. Year after year we see dumb cabin in the woods style films. And no one ever does anything new with the idea. Yea maybe one year it is a serial killer, the next year some zombies, and hell maybe throw in a murderous family or some rapists in there. Point is, that besides who is doing the killing the story is always the same. A bunch of teenagers go to a secluded lake side cabin for a weekend off the grid. Of course the cabin turns out to be haunted and the kids are killed off one by one after skinny dipping and usually while having sex in the woods. Chances are one of them will be a virgin girl and she will die last. Probably a Jock and a Cheerleader will have a wild tryst while some stoner dude will prophesize the end of days.
Every single one of these things occurs in Cabin In The Woods. But don't let that make you think this movie is anything like the dozens of other horror movies in this subgenre. There is an incredibly unique twist on the formula that changes the entire film and manages to succeed in creating the "meta" feeling that Scream 4 failed to capture last year. Suffice to say this has to be the most creative horror movie I've seen in well over a decade. And it pairs all the horror with a solid dose of comedy. In fact I would hesitate to call this a horror movie as much as an action comedy. If you didn't get that from the marketing, don't worry, they are trying to sell the whole "unique take on the horror movie" angle and it really is unique. But don't expect to be scared. There aren't even any cheap jump scares to be found.
Really this movie does remind me of the Scream series in that it cleverly plays with genre conventions and uses those conventions to create something far more entertaining than the movies that simply blindly follow them.
Honestly I am finding that in general there are very few unique movies in Hollywood these days, even among the indie scene. I went to Apple's movie trailers page and went through three pages worth of trailers and not a single one interested me. Every single film seemed like something I had seen countless times before. It's been said that every story you could tell has already been told, but the sheer lack of creativity among the films coming out these days is just staggering. The Avengers came out this week. It's a big tentpole release but I'm finding it hard to care about even after waiting for it for over half a decade. Super heroes. End of the world. I've seen it too many times and I'm running out of reasons to see it again. This year was the first year in a long time I hadn't seen most of the films up for an Oscar. But honestly none of the films really interested me. Some seemed okay. None seemed brilliant. This has actually been true for several years now. The Tree of Life was the most interesting film of last year. Nothing else really excited me. This year I think I've seen maybe one or two movies. Again, nothing I haven't seen countless times before just in a slightly different wrapper. Hollywood has seen some great success this year after several years of dismal sales. But I can safely say I've seen less movies this year than any year I can remember. Part of that is because I have been very busy. But part of that is that I just haven't seen anything that really blew my mind away.
Anyways, please go see Cabin in the Woods and support some of the most creative people in show biz. I'll probably see more movies over the summer, but for the first time in my entire life I have to say that the film industry is boring me. And for someone who once lived and breathed movies, that is a real damn shame.