Cabin in the Woods (2012 film)

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Summary

When five college friends arrive at a remote forest cabin for a little vacation, little do they expect the horrors that await them. One by one, the youths fall victim to backwoods zombies, but there are other factors at play: two scientists are manipulating the ghoulish goings-on, but even as the body count rises, there is yet more at work than meets the eye.

Details

  • Release Date: 2012
  • Country/Language: US, English
  • Genres/Technical: Horror, Thriller, Mystery, Comedy (satire, black comedy)
  • Runtime: 1 hr 35 min
  • Starring: Kristen Connolly, Chris Hemsworth, Anna Hutchison, Fran Kranz, Jesse Williams, Richard Jenkins, Bradley Whitford
  • Director: Drew Goddard
  • Writer: Joss Whedon, Drew Goddard
  • Producer/Production Co: Lionsgate, Mutant Enemy
  • View Trailer: (link), (link)

Ratings

MPAA Ratings

  • Rated: R (Violence, Profanity, Adult Content, Nudity, Sexual Situations)

Tentacle Ratings

A rough measure of how "Lovecraftian" the work is:

  • SS___ (Two Tentacles: Barely Lovecraftian; could be a very loose adaptation)

 Spoiler Section (Highlight to Read)

This film is, infamously, a fairly spot-on post-modern satire on the fairly bland, by-the-numbers, formulaic, and interchangeable product that that the basic horror film takes the form of, including much of "Lovecraftian" horror; the same satire can be extended to "Lovecraftian" fiction and role-playing gaming. In addition to a few of the standard-issue Lovecraftian components provided in the cabin for the victims to construct their own demise with (spotting references to them in the artifacts in the basement of the cabin, on the whiteboards, in the monster zoo, and in the scenes after the button is pushed can be a fun "freeze-frame bonus" for some viewers), the horror industry (audience included) are symbolically depicted as vast, faceless, petty, bloodthirsty, and insane equivalents of Lovecraft's "Great Old Ones", forcing a meaningless ritual upon the horror universe to provide a predictable and steady stream of meaningless sacrifices to keep them amused and appeased: a sort of cosmic horror story in which horror writers, film-makers, and audiences take an amusing starring roles as the mind-shattering, unspeakable cosmic horrors.


Note: This rating is not intended as a measure of quality, merely of how closely related to Lovecraftian "Weird" fiction the work is.

Reviews

Review Links:

  • (review needed)


Synopsis

 Spoiler Section (Highlight to Read)

When five college friends arrive at a remote forest cabin for a little vacation, little do they expect the horrors that await them. One by one, the youths fall victim to backwoods zombies, but there are other factors at play: two scientists are manipulating the ghoulish goings-on, but even as the body count rises, there is yet more at work than meets the eye.


Notes

Comments, Trivia, Dedication

Associated Mythos Elements

  • TO DO


Keeper Notes

  • This film is probably more useful to keepers as an example of how interchangeable horror elements can be and how easy it might get to hack out a "new" basic story just by changing a couple details, rather than as a straight example of a plot for a horror RPG campaign (such campaigns probably do better when played straight, than when played as weird, post-modern, self-referential satires!) As the film hints, it's still the same basic plot, whether the monsters are zombies, masked killers, mischievous little creatures, or tentacle-monsters, but as long as you play fair and change just enough detail to provide at least the semblance of variety and originality, audiences (and players) can be fairly forgiving of being given the same basic formula over and over.