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October 29 2015

Is 'The Cabin In The Woods' a horror movie? Debating the best way to classify The Cabin in the Woods.

Not so much a horror film as it is a film ABOUT horror films. #meta
It's a horror film about horror films, so, yes.
I still wouldn't call it a straight-out horror film. A 'meta-horror comedy' film, perhaps.
What it is, in a generic sense I think, is satire. I can understand not considering it to be a true horror movie just as I don't think of Student Bodies as a slasher movie or Blazing Saddles a Western. I would call them parodies before I would call them anything else. But what I cannot understand is considering it to be not good.
It definitely isn't not good.
I felt that it was a comedy until they got in the elevator, then it became horror. Before that, everything was under control, even the deaths were scripted. When things went out of control, the crew inside the facility became the victims, and it was a real horror movie.

There was a moment like that in "Sean of the Dead", too. It started as a zombie parody, then someone was dragged through a window and his guts ripped out. Suddenly it wasn't a parody anymore.

[ edited by Jason_M_Bryant on 2015-10-30 09:05 ]
Good point, JMB.
Artfully crafted psychological thriller? Yes. Horror movie? ...not so much.
For me the real horror is

1) when Marty and Dana decide that humanity can't be redeemed and decide to end the world and
2) when the workers are partying to Dana's imminent death

It's very very bleak.
No, it's a typical Joss story. "Let's turn this thing on its head." Which we love to death.

Nebula, "It definitely isn't not good."

Stop confusing me like that! I'm confused enough as it is!
Yes, it is in the same category as Shawn of The Dead. It is making fun of a thing while it also is the thing.
See... I wouldn't call Shaun of the Dead a horror movie either, since that isn't what it is (it's a black comedy.)

Cabin in the Woods might be implemented using horror movie tropes, but the actual story being told is one about psychology - the rationalization processes that people go through in order to still sleep at night despite seeing, tolerating, or even participating in horrific things around them.

[ edited by brinderwalt on 2015-10-31 00:36 ]
My $0.02... I interpret Alex McCown's position in the article (paraphrased) as "if the movie employs tropes and covers subject matter common to horror movies, the movie should be categorized as a horror movie." And Becca James' position (also paraphrased) is that a horror film must strive first and foremost to horrify its audience; if a film prioritizes other goals, it should not be classified as a horror film. Given those interpretations as starting points, both arrive at reasonable conclusions, and I can't argue with either.

I'm not an expert in the genre and have no great desire to be; I just want to be entertained (a desire that Joss always fulfills to some degree). Like all of his best work, the film operates simultaneously — and successfully — on multiple levels. It is not merely horror or humor; it is not merely a self-aware deconstruction of the genre; it is not merely spoof or satire or homage... it is all these things and more, because it is also an indictment of the studios that produce the same product over and over, and of the audience that seemingly cannot get enough of that same product over and over.
It's true that Cabin is many things, but it also serves a specific purpose. It is a parody of and homage to the horror film industry past and present. The five protagonists represent overused character archetypes used in many horror films (the whore, the virgin, etc.), the 'puppeteers' represent production teams who create horror films, and the 'Gods' represent audience members who watch horror films. The puppeteers try to appease the Gods in the same way that directors/production teams try to appease audience members. However, most horror films have become very formulaic and predictable over the years, and that is largely what Cabin in the Woods sets out to prove (along with other things).
In the end, it doesn't matter if it's a horror movie. It's a movie where Bradley Whitford screams, "How hard can it be to kill ten-year-olds!?!" That's enough. :-)
You can be a horror movie and funny (Evil Dead 2) or a horror movie with romance, or a horror movie with the supernatural, or without it - you put a hat on a chicken, it's still a chicken.
you put a hat on a chicken, it's still a chicken.

Except if it isn't a chicken in the first place - which is the case here.

Cabin is a psychological thriller movie with horror (just like how Evil Dead 2 is a slapstick comedy movie with horror) - not the other way 'round.
Why can't they be both? Alien is a science fiction movie and Alien is a horror movie.

[ edited by redeem147 on 2015-11-02 01:04 ]
^ What b!X & Sunfire said. ^
Why can't they be both? Alien is a science fiction movie and Alien is a horror movie.


Alien is a stirling example of the direct opposite of Cabin - a horror movie told with science fiction tropes.

Really what it comes down to is whether you define a movie by the kind of story it tells (deep thinking) or by the tools it uses to tell that story (shallow thinking.) Both are valid modes of categorization - depending on your attention span.

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