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Friday, April 27, 2012

"It Could Have Happened Like This…": The Cabin in the Woods Edition

Confession: I LOVE the movie Clue' so much so, that I could probably recited the entire movie start to finish just off the top of my head. I'll refrain from actually demonstrating that at the moment, but just know that I could.

One of my favorite things about the m movie is the ending, or rather endings. If you are familiar with the movie, as you should be, you know exactly what I am talking about. The movie actually has THREE endings, and in between the endings are silent movie style cards which proclaim: "It could have happened like this…", "Or like this…", "But here's what really happened…". It's a pretty brilliant twist.

Every so often, I will be watching a tv show or movie and have what I refer to as an "It could have happened like this…" moment. Basically it is what I call the moment where I suddenly see another way the could have gone with the script that still would have made complete sense. Now that's not to say that the ending/course that the writers took was bad, on the contrary, some times the actual end/storyline is equally, if not more awesome, I just sometimes see an alternate.

I've decided to start writing these ideas down in segment which I am calling "It Could Have Happened Like This…". First up I'm tackling The Cabin in the Woods. First off, I want to state that I LOVED this movie, this is in no way a criticism of the film and it's actual ending, it's just an alternate path.


So we pick up in the chamber, with "The Director" explaining the archetypes to Marty and Dana, and Dana being confused about being "The Virgin". Follow through to her holding the gun on Marty, going into what I now lovingly refer to as "The Buffy/Angel moment", and him watching the werewolf creeping up behind her, and attacking her. Once again, Marty and The Director get into a scuffle for the gun. Pretty much everything can play out just as original movie, until we join Marty and Dana on the stairs sharing the joint.

Dana apologizes for almost shooting Marty, and Marty apologizes for letting her get attacked by the werewolf, and here's where things get different. What if we revealed that "The Powers That Be" at the facility made a mistake? Well, I suppose it would have to be another mistake, as lets face it there were several screw ups, but go with me on this, Dana isn't "The Virgin", it's Marty.

It certainly explains how he survived the zombie attack, he couldn't die then, he had to die last. Dana was "The Fool" all along, probably for having had an affair with her professor, because I'm still not really clear on why that detail was included, and that would have been an awesome reason for it. Thus the world is saved. Granted, Marty and Dana are still more or less fucked, as they are still trapped in the facility with an army of nightmares running amok, but that is hardly the point.

 There you have it. My alternate ending to The Cabin in the Woods.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Cabin in the Woods: AKA: Dear Joss, You are my Hero

Joss Whedon writing a horror film? Yes, please. That was my immediate reaction to the news that Joss was writing a horror flick. I have never made an attempt to hide my love of Mr. Whedon, and have frequently admitted to the fact although I often find the worlds of the Whedonverse terrifying...let's face it they are not happy places, I would also love to live there, sometimes, just to be friends with the characters he creates.

As I told my friend, whom I dragged with me opening night to see the film, "The Whedonverse is a scary place. I love to visit, but I wouldn't want to live there." I waited a few weeks to post this, knowing that not everyone would be as insane about seeing it right away.

What make Joss' work so incredible is that it is so inventive. You never quite know what to expect, no one is safe. Although he admits to not liking to be know as "the guy who kills everyone", Joss isn't afraid to take a beloved character and kill them to make the rest of the story more interesting. And though fans will bitch and moan, and scream and cry, when one of their characters is killed, deep down they know, the story is better for it. That's why they keep coming back.

Cabin in the Woods was filmed back in 2009, and features what I like to refer to as a Pre-Thor Thor, and appears to be just another teens go into the woods horror movie, but that is far from the truth.

I  am going to take this moment to tell you if you have NOT seen the movie yet, you should probably move on. There will most likely be SPOILERS ahead and if you wish to avoid them, you should continue no further. Go see the film, because it is awesome, and then come back.

Cabin in the Woods takes the classic stero-typical, teenagers going to spring break in the woods and turns it on it's head. Ever wonder why after years of these movies the group of teens always decides to "split up"? Or why one of the girls is always a slut? Well leave it to Joss to find an explanation for it all.

It is because that is how it has to be. Plain and simple. Every country has their own ritual, and at least one must be completed to appease the great evil Gods who slumber below us. In a weird way it almost makes sense when you think about it. The idea that the reason all these years of horror films happened were because these 1/2 Witt teens were being controlled by a larger power.

It was clear from the very beginning, when they chose to open with a scene at the facility as opposed to the typical teens preparing for the trip fodder we are used to, that this film was going to be different. As to what this facility was? Well that was for the moment, any one's guess.

Next we meet our victims, Curt "The Jock", Jules "The Whore", Holden "The Egghead", Marty "The Fool", and Dana "The Virgin". Although, they do try to establish that they are not you stereotypical teens. The soon to be Jock talking about schoolwork, the soon to be Egghead "has the best hands on the team", but aside from those subtle moments, Holden suddenly needing glasses about half way through the movie and a comment Marty later makes about how Jules and Curt are acting out of character, we don't really realize anything is odd about their behavior. I am curious as to if there are any deleted scenes in which the contrast in their normal personalities and their behavior at the cabin is made more clear.

On the way to the cabin our group stops for gas, because lets face it, as establish in just about every movie in the genre, that is what you do. Right on cue, enter the creepy gas station owner, who we later learn is named Mordecai, to basically tell them, as creepy gas station owners always do, that if they continue to the cabin they will die. Of course the group shrugs this off , because that is what they are supposed to do. As they are passing through the mountain tunnel, we are shown a shot of a hawk soaring. My cynical friend muttered "Why?" at which point the hawk exploded as it hit what appeared to be some sort of force field, "Oh," he muttered as he saw the van appear on the other side.

It is important to note that through out all this we are cutting between our teens and The Facility control room, which is being controlled by two employees, Hadley and Sitterson, who's sole job seems to be making sure these "scenarios" go off without a hitch, a chemist Lin, and what appears to be their security, who is serving for the first time, Truman. Through the conversations between the four of them we learn a little more about how this operation works.

To everyone, aside from Truman, this just their job. They've been desensitized to the fact that are essentially killing people. I imagine it is almost the same way in which a butcher or slaughter house worker would be. You have a job to do and you do it. This is perfectly expressed in the fact that pretty much the entire facility comes down to place bets on which creature(s) will be picked to finish off the teens. The amount of people who showed up to bet also illustrates just how large the facility is and the amount of people needed for this ritual occur smoothly.

After being shown a creepy two way mirror. We are given a few moments of the group having fun before inevitably the cellar door flies open. And so it begins.…

Dana is dared to go down into the cellar, and she and the others soon discover that it is full of all sorts of creepy junk. It is now up to the offerings to, unknowingly, choose how they will meet their demise.

The choice is made and a pain worshiping family of Zombies is unleashed upon our poor teens. At first all seems to go according to plan, one by one they're slaughtered. It looks as though the facility has completed their task. They celebrate while images of Dana being attacked by one of the Buckners plays on a screen behind them. As Hadley explains, "The Virgin" must always be left for last, and whether she lives or dies is inconsequential. All that matters is that she suffers.

Suddenly a red phone begins to ring. Clearly that is not a good sign. It is a call from "upstairs". Something has gone wrong.

Meanwhile, our dear little Dana is fighting for her life on the docks. Just when it looks like all hope is lost for her, THWAK! Something strikes the attacking Buckner from behind. Dana looks up to see Marty standing over her.

The two escape into what appears to be an elevator shaft and descend down into a world they never dreamed existed. A world full of monsters all stored in glass cubes, just waiting to be released, and Dana comes to the horrifying realization that they chose what was unleashed upon them. What then follows is a chaotic battle for survival. Marty and Dana unleash all the captured creatures on to the facility and many many horrific deaths ensue.

In their quest to escape the two teens come to what appears to be a ritual room. Symbols of the archetypes they were forced to play line the walls, blood filling in the ones who have already passed. It is this room that they meet "The Director", played by the ever awesome Sigourney Weaver, who tries to explain the situation and why, in order save mankind, Marty must die.

There is a definite moment in where it looks as though The Director has gotten through to Dana. She stands there behind her friend, who has saved her life several times at this point, gun raised prepared to fire. It's a very Buffy-esq moment actually. Hardening back to "Becoming: Part 2", the season finale of season 2, in which Buffy has to kill Angel in order to save the world. Here Dana is presented with a very similar choice, kill someone she loves, as one loves their friends, or allow the world to be destroyed. Unfortunately she doesn't get a chance to decide as she is then attack from behind by a ware wolf. The Director and Marty grapple for the gun, and Marty emerges from the scuffle where as The Director falls from the platform they are standing on to what is presumed to be the pit that houses the ancient ones below.

Marty and a dying Dana share a joint as they wait for the end of the world.

Random Thoughts and Theories

I noticed several points through out the movie where I could not wait for the move to be released on BluRay/DVD so that I could take the time to better explore. The basement was filled with what looked like THOUSANDS of different artifacts, and I would love to take a longer look to see as many as I could and match them up to their creatures. We know that the conch matches to the Merman, the diary to the Buckners, the music box to the freaky Ballerina thing, the bladed ball to that neck blade guy and the masks to the masked killers, but what about the necklace Jules had, or the film Marty was inspecting? I figure between the creatures in their cells, the white board and the post purge scenes in the facility I would be able to match quite a few. Also I would LOVE to slow down one of the scenes during the purge, where you see the monsters ravaging the facility on several surveillance screens and the intern is holding up what looks like cue cards, just to see what the cards actually say.

There were several references to other films, my favorites of course being those made to the Evil Dead trilogy, which included, but I'm sure are not limited to, "The Angry Molesting Tree" and "Deadites" listed on the board, the animal hanging on the wall being referred to as a "Moose" and the "Maybe it was the wind," response to the cellar blowing open.

I lot of people have been complaining that revealing the force field toward the beginning of the movie took away from the Curt's death scene. Personally it didn't bother me at all. Actually, I thought it heightened his whole hero speech before the jump, knowing that there was no way he was going to make it made the moment even more ironic.

The one thing that bothered me though was in the trailer they show Dana and Marty in the elevator. For me that totally ruined the "Marty is actually alive" reveal. I know not everyone obsesses over trailers like I tend to, but still that was a pretty big mess up, in my opinion.
All and all I loved this movie, it was everything I had hoped it would be and then some.  It is not a straight out horror film, and if that is what you are expecting you will probably come out disappointed, but it is a brilliant new twist on an old genre. 

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

The River "Row Row Row Your Boat": AKA: What A Way To End It

So it's been a few weeks since the season, and hopefully not, but looking more and more likely like the series, finale of my newest obsession, The River.

It was hard to imagine how they were going to top the discovery/resurrection of Dr. Emmet Cole, which occurred at the end of the previous zombie filled episode, "The Experiment", but some how they managed to pull it off with flying colors.

I'm gonna pause for a moment, to warn you that if you haven't yet watched last night's episode, to stop here. There will be spoilers ahead, though if you haven't watched already, FOR SHAME. Anyways consider yourself warned.

We begin the episode with a series of personal interviews. What the crew members look forward to most about going home. Tess and Lincoln's reactions to having Emmet back, that sort of thing.

When it comes to the Good Doctor though, the man has become increasingly tight lipped. When asked what happened to him out there he remains aloof, offering instead apologies to Jonas, who claims to forgive him as if he hadn't left him they'd both be dead, and Lena, who is less forgiving. did anyone else find it odd that Jonas was so forgiving, when in last week's episode he told Rabbit that he didn't blame her for leaving him, he blamed Emmet, saying something along the lines of "blame the Shepard not the flock", but I digress.

So anyway, about ten mins into the episode, all the cameras are shut down since the generator had over heated and Emilio had to power down to clear it out. That's when a bullet meant for our good doctor, who is attempting to reconcile with his son, goes and KILLS Lincoln as he tries to save his father.

 That's right, only ten mins in and they go and kill one of the best parts of the show. It was sudden, shocking and completely unexpected. Ironically the one person equip to treat this kind of injury would have been Lincoln, the rest of the crew is basically helpless, able only to watch horrified as Lincoln dies before them.

Of course since the shooting occurred during the power down, and since no one is confessing, the identity of who shot Lincoln seems to be a lost cause, or is it? This is The Boiuna after all.

Jaleh comes to Emmet and Tess, claiming that she can bring Lincoln back. Tess of course is all for it, as she frequently demonstrates this season, she cares nothing for the safety of others when one of her loved ones' life is on the line. Emmet however, having spent way more time in this mysterious/often evil place, is more cautious. He vetoes the idea, say they have no way of knowing what evil forces can be invited in to Lincoln along with his soul.

Tess, of course, ignores Emmet's warning and has Jahel preform the ritual anyway. I couldn't help but wonder if any of Lincoln would be brought back. I saw Buffy, when they tried to bring Joyce back. What if whatever they invited in to Lincoln's body wasn't him?

During this freaky ritual, we watch as something slowly pulls away the sheet covering Lincoln's body, and the room slowly fill with water. After ceremony is finished Tess hurries her way to the Kitchen to check on Lincoln. She flings open the door and we get not the rush of water we, or at least I expected, but a sopping wet, highly disorientated Lincoln.

He identifies Kurt as the shooter, and despite his claims of innocence, after all if Kurt shot at Emmet, he "wouldn't have missed", the lock him away in a room on the ship. For a brief moment we are allowed to think that everything is alright, but of course it isn't. It wouldn't be The River if it were.

Jonas comes upon "Lincoln" in the kitchen making a sandwich. As Lincoln is having difficulty since his fingers are still numb, Jonas offers to help, telling Lincoln he's glad he's ok. Lincoln retorts with "Because I tried to save you? Because I'm a good person?Not like my dad..." And there you have it, the big reveal, it was Jonas, not Kurt who fired that shot. "Lincoln" tells Jonas he claimed it was Kurt so "I could kill you myself" and WHAM! With lightning fast reflexes, "Lincoln" swipes at Jonas, bare handed mind you, and tears open  Jonas' throat effectively killing him. Looks like Emmet was right, and then Lincoln then goes off to beat the crap out of Kurt.

Emmet, has been spending a lot of time in the editing bay "catching up" on what has happened on the trip. He watches the encounter with Jonas that we have just seen, only in the version that plays back, Lincoln doesn't kill Jonas, he simply thanks him for the sandwich, "just like my dad used to make", and Jonas picks up his camera and leaves. Something about this doesn't sit right with Emmet, maybe it was the fact that I doubt he made Lincoln many sandwiches, or the creepy way Lincoln stared at the camera before walking away, but added to the fact that Lincoln told him he loved him earlier, well Emmet is convinced that whatever that thing is, it is NOT his son. Now he just has to prove it, he goes off to talk to Lena.

Elsewhere, Clark has a mini melt down, because he's in love with Tess, who let's face it is now never going to leave Emmet, AJ admits to Clark he's gay, Clark tries to drink away his sorrows and he and AJ discover what's left of Jonas' body.

Lena tricks demon Lincoln into drinking some sort of potion which weakens him, when he makes an advance on her, maybe I've got too much American Horror Story on the brain but I couldn't help but wonder if his intentions were to make a demon baby with her. His Demon-ness now revealed we now get to see a few truly horrifying scenes of Demon/Lincoln restrained to the table, contorting all sorts of terrifying ways attempting to break free while mentally taunting/terrorizing Emmet and Lena.

Finally the rest of the team calls upon Kurt to ask him what to do, because they only NOW realize that he knows more then he's letting on. Kurt tells them only Lincoln can dispel the demon and he has to "want to". Cue a very "Cat's in the Cradle" type speech given to Lincoln by Emmet. Lincoln, always the fighter, eventually dispels the Boiuna out of his body.

The crew is safe, Emmet and his family are patching things up. Lena is apparently not ready to forgive Lincoln for what he said/did to her while he was possessed, because that make sense. It wasn't Lincoln who said/did those things it was an evil entity inside of him. It doesn't seem fair to blame him for what happened. As they happily make they way toward the mouth of The Boiuna believing their adventures are over, suddenly their GPS stops working. Clark send up the aerial cam and to their horror, see that the river is moving...or rather the land is moving around them, reshaping the river itself and trapping our poor crew.

Thoughts and Theories and Such

During the ritual, Tess asks Jahel how she knows to preform the ritual and Jahel simply starts "She is telling me". The question of who "She" is is ne'er answered. Was it The Boiuna herself, searching for entry to inflict harm upon our crew? Or was it Jahel's on mother, who also possesses Jahel's "gift"?

So Emmet tells Jonas, he's so sorry for leaving him and that he didn't know what else to do, that if he had stayed they both would have died. Despite claiming to forgive him, Jonas, as we later learn, still blames Emmet for leaving him. But Emmet was right. If he hadn't left Jonas, they probably both would have died, and then Lena would never have "felt" that Emmet and her father were alive, causing her to remotely set off the beacon. If she'd never set off the beacon then the "rescue team" never would have gone down to The Boiuna in the first place and Jonas would have been left hanging in the trees, almost dead for all eternity. So in actuality, his abandoning Jonas is what allowed him to be saved in the first place.

I feel like the kind of just threw in that  A.J. was gay. There is nothing wrong with that, and no reason that he wouldn't be, I just feel the way they revealed it, wasn't very believable.

The ending? Ok so if you have to go out in only eight episodes, at least we were given a doozey of an ending. The fucking river TRAPPED horrifying is that?!?! Sure, I think there are still many stories to be told, many new facets to explore, and I def don't like the fact that we are going out with Lena being, needlessly, pissed at Lincoln, but as far as premature endings go it wasn't half bad. There was a brief rumor that Netflix might pick up the show, but I haven't heard anything further on that front. At least, we get a DVD, the first season, is it wrong to hold out hope since the cover says "Complete First Season" and not "Complete Series"?, will be available on May 22nd. You can pre-order it on Amazon here.