27 Oct

Cabin in the Woods

Yeah, I, uh, I had to dismember that guy with a trowel. What have you been up to?

– Marty

Hate reading? Listen to us talk about Cabin in the Woods on iTunes or wherever you listen to podcasts.

The Setup

Halloween is right around the corner, so we felt like watching a scary movie. We went to local horror movie aficionado, and good friend of ours, Tim Jolliff and asked him to help us out since this is a genre Munch is generally unfamiliar with. Together, we settled on Cabin in the Woods, which Tim had seen and remembered liking but also couldn’t remember that much about. With Cabin in the Woods in mind, we decided to cook a meal that we could see friends cooking together in a cabin in the woods: a comforting menu to what we expected was going to be a scary film.

The Meal

To start it off, we made cast iron cornbread, as described by Tim below.

“I decided that we should spice up the cornbread by making a cheddar cornbread. I grew up eating cornbread made within a cast iron pan or skillet. It holds the batter well and gives the bread a nice crust on the outside while keeping the entire dish moist and melty. I used a recipe I found online at Epicurious. We just followed the recipe and added a little bit more cheese than suggested (1 1/2 cups instead 1 cup), and added freeze-dried corn. The end result was one of the most delicious cornbread I have ever made: light and very flavorful.”

We also made a hearty ground beef chili, figuring our friends would need something to warm them up in a poorly insulated cabin. It had everything you expect from chili like beef, onions, kidney beans, tomato sauce, and lots of spices, but we also threw a couple extra ingredients in. Have you ever had chili with carrots and green peppers in it before? Try it sometime. You’ll like it.

For dessert, we made one-bowl apple crisp because no one wants to make an involved dessert in an unfamiliar kitchen. Our apples were finely diced so that they could fit into a ramekin, which ended up giving the crisp a consistency similar to chunky applesauce. The crisp on top was superb and made even better with a dollop of vanilla gelato on top. If this were the last thing we ate before being dismembered by a zombie redneck torture family, we’d die happy.

The Drinks

We wanted something fall-like as well as something strong enough to calm us down as we dove into one of the only horror films Munch has watched for this blog so far. What resulted was the delicious Bourbon Brûlé Cocktail that had a nice brightness from the ginger liqueur, and the brûléed orange was like a nice piece of candy to top it all off.

The Rules

We didn’t have our typical three drink rule structure this time around because it is becoming something of a Munch tradition to draft which characters in a horror piece of media will survive. We also did this once for the video game Until Dawn so we are just calling it a trend now.

☠️  Draft characters and when your character dies, take a shot. If your character comes back to life, everyone else has to take a shot too.

🎉  Drink whenever someone says, “Let’s get the party started.”

😱  Drink whenever there is a jump scare (and you physically jump).

Want more thoughts about the film? Listen to us talk about Cabin in the Woods on iTunes or wherever you listen to podcasts.

The Movie

It’s fair to say we all enjoyed Cabin in the Woods. As there were four of us, our personal reviews are longer

At first blush, Cabin in the Woods appears to be a standard horror movie. We have a group comprised of the geek, the jock, the flirt, the comic relief, and the innocent one, all going to a dangerous location isolated from the rest of the world. Monsters attack and violence ensues. Party members die one by one, and only a couple make it out at the end.

What really set Cabin in the Woods apart from other horror movies was the B-plot: there was a group of men and women watching their every move, pulling strings to lead them into dangerous situations. This allowed Cabin in the Woods to have a chance to poke fun at itself and the horror genre in general.

By the end of the movie, the two parties intersect, and we get to see dozens and dozens of monsters unleashed, killing anything in sight. Once we finished, we had gotten the experience of three movies in one: a standard horror, an analysis of the state of horror filmmaking, and a CGI gorefest. We were supremely impressed and definitely entertained.

The Reviews

André: Not at all what I was expecting in the best way possible. I really had no idea what I was getting into with Cabin in the Woods. I had heard that it was good, and that was about it. I expected it to be a well done but a typical horror movie, but it ended up being anything but typical. Cabin in the Woods took the horror genre, exposed its well-known tropes with a wink and a nod to the audience, and then took your expectations and threw them out the window. I was supremely impressed and would recommend this movie to just about anyone.

Leanna: Dear Erik, Sorry it took me so long to finally watch this movie. It was really great. But seriously, I should have watched this years ago. I remember being skeptical because it was marketed as a horror film which is generally something I try to stay clear of. But that’s not really an accurate representation of all that this film really is. Since I’m writing this, years after Cabin in the Woods came out, it’s going to be difficult to say something newly insightful that the Internet hasn’t already discussed at length. That being said, I generally agree with the positive take that many of the critics had on this film including the way it commented on the typical roles played in horror films, the way it revealed the twists, the many Easter eggs, etc. It’s just a really well-executed film that was fun to watch and felt truly original.

Ben: 90%. I was genuinely surprised by Cabin in the Woods. It felt like it has a fresh perspective on the genre that I was honestly surprised got made. It felt like a short story you would read about or a fan-theory that would never actually be turned into a film. And I loved it for that. It has a unique perspective on who the monster is, a revenge-fantasy of sorts, and an ending that is appropriately dour (something I also love). I don’t have some unique perspective to share about Cabin in the Woods, but it was a satisfying watch that had its horror elements and comedic moments trading blows with each other to build up a satisfying fight.

Tim: I watched Cabin in the Woods back in 2012 when it premiered. I didn’t think it was a film that was worth my time, and more importantly, my money. But after reading the plethora of positive reviews the film received, I decided to go view it. I remember being pleasantly surprised at how much I enjoyed the film! Now that being said, 5 years later, watching it again was sort of a new experience for me. This is mostly due to the fact that I’m getting old, and my memory eludes me at times… This second viewing reaffirmed what I did remember and why I enjoyed the film so much the first time. The plot is something very unexpected and original, showing only slight parallels to The Hunger Games. I felt the film was a bit satirical, even though it was not advertised as such. I say that because the introduction of classic horror film archetypes (the whore, the jock, the nerd, the naive ingenue) was incorporated in a way that seemed fresh and not at all bromidic. I wasn’t rolling my eyes that these tropes were being played out; I saw the significance the roles played in the overall narrative. The mark of a great film is when you leave asking questions, not poking holes in the plot because you want the story to continue to be told.