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Cabin in the Woods


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#1

TWoP Dietrich

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Posted Apr 13, 2012 @ 12:13 PM

Remember, anyone reading this thread has either seen the movie or accepts that they will see spoilers. Please don't use spoiler tags in the movie threads.

(And if you haven't seen the movie, I hear it's best to go in completely blind, so you should stop reading now. From what I hear.)

#2

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Posted Apr 13, 2012 @ 5:35 PM

So Joss Whedon's main ambition the last several years wasn't, in fact, The Avengers movie, but to remake Funny Games. Who knew?

Okay, that was too glib. In all seriousness, this does contain the best and worst of Joss. Best in the snappy dialogue (it's too bad neither Richard Jenkins nor Bradley Whitford - arguably playing Josh Lyman's evil twin here - never worked with Joss before, as they're naturals here), fine use of the Mutant Enemy actors group (not just Franz Kanz and Amy Acker - both of whom were good - but Tom Lenk, even though I found him utterly annoying on Buffy), ability to put comedy in a genre film without making it smart-ass, and ability to comment on the genre; worst in that he does not know when to quit, as the final 15-20 minutes of the film were too over-the-top and felt way too long. And having Kanz come back from seeming to be dead just screamed retcon to me. I liked it, with reservations, and you definitely need to have a strong tolerance for gore.

#3

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Posted Apr 13, 2012 @ 10:32 PM

I liked it well enough--wasn't loving it, but was enjoying the ride--up until the ending, when it just got too stupid. Seriously, you have this elaborate system that contains all these horrible monsters--why the hell would you build in a System Release button (or whatever it was) to set them all loose? The only possible reason I could see was exactly what happened, to unleash carnage on the complex, and why would the people in charge want to do that? What? So, so dumb. And when the stupid main characters decided to let hell be unleashed on the world and the all of humanity be brutally killed rather than kill the stoner, I just threw my hands up. You stupid fuckers. Stupid, selfish, ridiculous fuckers. Ugh. (Although I did appreciate the commentary/whatever on how the audience in horror movies is often cast in the role of wanting to see people die by deliberately making it so that most of the audience should be rooting for the main characters to die at that point. Or at least I was, because their stupid fucking lives weren't worth THE WORLD ENDING. Argh!)

On a less annoying, kind of amusing note, I know stories like this often have ridiculously arbitrary rules the characters have to live by, but the fact that the ancient ones absolutely had to have those four (or five) people die to be a fitting sacrifice, and wouldn't accept the fact that hundreds of people were being slaughtered in the compound as a sacrifice was an eyeroller. Silly ancient ones. So finicky. (And furthermore, is it different archetypes for different cultures? Because the Japanese one would have involved a bunch of nine-year-old girls being killed, which seemingly would have appeased them. So they need one fitting sacrifice that adheres to the archetypes of the particular culture providing it, though not necessarily any others? Again, silly ancient ones.)

#4

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Posted Apr 13, 2012 @ 10:36 PM

I wonder if they tried to get Jamie Lee Curtis in the role of The Director. Sigourney Weaver does count as a "Final Girl" for surviving in Alien but Curtis is still more recognized a classic horror movie ingenue. I wanted to know if the classic five horror movie stereotypes were the same from country to country or if that was the American contribution to the gods. Minor quibbles though, I had a good time at this one.

#5

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Posted Apr 13, 2012 @ 11:27 PM

Loved it. Totally fun. I enjoyed both stories (the kids and the scientists) so much that every time the scene switched, no matter which direction it was going, I was delighted to get back to the "good part." Funny and fast-paced and really interesting exploration of the genre and its problems and purpose. Also, I'd forgotten since Dollhouse ended how much I grew to love Fran Kranz, so I loved seeing him here. I'm glad Dana didn't kill him.

And when the stupid main characters decided to let hell be unleashed on the world and the all of humanity be brutally killed rather than kill the stoner, I just threw my hands up. You stupid fuckers. Stupid, selfish, ridiculous fuckers.

Yeah, probably, but that's what made it so interesting. They made a good point: if the survival of humanity depends upon the slaughter of innocent young people, then why is that a world worth saving? They were wrong, but, dammit, it was also satisfying to see them make that choice; when the people in charge tell the person to be sacrificed that it's for the greater good, he or she is well within his/her rights to question why the people who chose him/her to die a horrible death, as well as the people who are benefitting from it, should get to live when s/he won't.

Anyway: favorite moment was The Harbinger on speakerphone. Hilarious.

Edited by ReadIshmael, Apr 13, 2012 @ 11:36 PM.


#6

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Posted Apr 14, 2012 @ 10:50 AM

I saw it and enjoyed it - but it wasn't quite as thrilling/genre-bending as I expected based on all the hype. It felt like a cross between your classic horror film, the Truman Show / Hunger Games, and the "Reptile Boy" episode of Buffy.

A couple of things I didn't quite understand:

First, am I imagining this, or did one of the characters (Bradley Whitford or Richard Jenkins) say something early on about this being a test of free will? I don't remember his exact words, but it led me to believe that the zombies, etc that were being unleashed on them weren't "real" and that it was almost going to be a mind over matter thing. Clearly that wasn't the case. Unless they were just referring to the choose-your-own adventure aspect of the game (e.g., selecting how you die).

Second, I didn't really get what was going on in Japan and how it related to the US slaughterfest. Does each country have its own "ancient one" that it has to appease? Or one "ancient one" that requires tributes from every country? And what exactly happened in Japan? Richard Jenkins et al seemed annoyed (almost in a competititve way) that the Japanese schoolgirls were able to banish their demon without any casualties. But wouldn't that mean the Japanese failed? And earlier in the film, they mentioned Sweden failing - does that mean Sweden's version of the game didn't result in the tributes dying?

#7

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Posted Apr 14, 2012 @ 11:11 AM

sweetcookieface, regarding the first question, yes, the free will comment referred only to the fact that once the kids were in the cellar (which they said was as far as they could push them), it was their choice to play with what they found and their choice which things they picked, and, thus, how they'd die. Regarding the second, my sense is that it's all the same ancient ones, and they only needed one ritual to succeed throughout the world. At the beginning, every country had already failed besides Japan and the U.S. Then Japan failed (that's why Jenkins was mad; he was annoyed earlier at their perfect record, but when they failed, his comment about their record was meant to convey how ridiculous it was that they couldn't be relied on despite their usual perfection), and everything was depending on the U.S.

#8

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Posted Apr 14, 2012 @ 6:10 PM

Saw this today and liked it overall though it did get a bit silly in parts, like the previously mentioned "press the button and release all the creatures". Franz Kanz was one of the best things about Dollhouse and he is equally good here. My quibble is that if you've seen the previews you know he and Kristen Connolly are shown in an elevator, so when he "dies" you know he gets out of it some how, since the elevator scene hadn't happened by the time he's dragged off.

Chris Hemsworth was cute and charming - actually, I thought all of the cast had good chemistry together. I did kind of feel for them when they were getting killed.

They made a good point: if the survival of humanity depends upon the slaughter of innocent young people, then why is that a world worth saving?

I liked the ending - I was expecting for Franz Kanz's character to kill himself or some such (and at one point I was wondering if he was supposed to be the virgin - I got there about five minutes into it so if there was early discussion about Dana's virginity I missed it). I spent part of the movie thinking "oh the deaths are fake" and then "ok, the ancient ones really won't wake up and destroy the world" so it was nice change of pace to see none of these things happen.

#9

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Posted Apr 14, 2012 @ 6:30 PM

I liked the movie, but kept trying to decide whether this was The Initiative: The Movie or Knights of Byzantium: The Movie?

#10

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Posted Apr 14, 2012 @ 7:56 PM

I liked the movie, but kept trying to decide whether this was The Initiative: The Movie or Knights of Byzantium: The Movie?


Maybe I'm just ridiculously obsessed I mean I really enjoy Buffy so The Initiativeness about it was a plus for me. I loved the movie and can't wait till the dvd comes out.

#11

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Posted Apr 14, 2012 @ 8:19 PM

This is one of the best takes on organized religion I've seen in quite a while.

#12

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Posted Apr 14, 2012 @ 10:32 PM

oes each country have its own "ancient one" that it has to appease? Or one "ancient one" that requires tributes from every country?


I assumed that the "ancient ones" that needed to be appeased were the viewing audience. Thus who needed to die to appease them depended on the culture. I don't know much about Japanese cinema, but I was thinking about how many schoolgirls (though older) bite it in "Battle Royale."

The ending was what was problematic for me. I can see why critics loved it a lot more than audiences have. Call me a dumb theater-goer if you like, but I wanted some glimmer of hope at the end. (Maybe just Tom Lenk's character huddled under rubble saying "Phew, I made it." The shot of him on the monitors begging for help made me very sad for some reason.)

If I wanted to be bummed out, I'd watch the news.

#13

TWoP Dietrich

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Posted Apr 15, 2012 @ 1:37 AM

worst in that he does not know when to quit, as the final 15-20 minutes of the film were too over-the-top and felt way too long.


I liked how over-the-top it got. As soon as I saw the whiteboard, I was hoping i'd get to see some Scarecrow Folk.

#14

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Posted Apr 15, 2012 @ 2:09 PM

and at one point I was wondering if he was supposed to be the virgin - I got there about five minutes into it so if there was early discussion about Dana's virginity I missed it).


IIRC, Dana and Jules(?) were talking at the start about Dana's Professor, who she'd been sleeping with and had then dumped her by email. Hence the comment later in the movie about them 'working with what they'd got'

My favourite line of the movie, Hadley "Oh come on!!"

#15

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Posted Apr 15, 2012 @ 3:17 PM

I also enjoyed the over-the-top ending sequence. It reminded me of the climax to the Buffy S4 Initiative storyline, when the demons all got loose and attacked the people guarding/experimenting on them. Except this had the benefit of a bigger budget.

...liked it overall though it did get a bit silly in parts, like the previously mentioned "press the button and release all the creatures".


Yeah, that bothered me a little as well. I could see the Facility getting complacent about that kind of on-the-site control booth since they'd been carrying on like this for years - the implication seemed to be that the Sacrifice (or some version of it) was a centuries long tradition - and Dana and Marty were likely the very first of the chosen tributes to ever get that far. But what purpose would such a "Release All" button even serve, considering the prisoners in question? I would have felt more comfortable if the kids had at least pointed out the idiocy of such a plot construct - "Are you fuckin' KIDDING me?" - but that probably wasn't the right point for such a laugh line. It might have been better if Marty identified the control panel as being able to open the cells on a one-at-a-time basis, and then managed to rig it to open all the doors simultaneously by crossing a few wires...but the movie was kinda rocketing along by that point, and it probably wouldn't have been a good time to stop for the exposition that would have required. Oh, well.

And when the stupid main characters decided to let hell be unleashed on the world and the all of humanity be brutally killed rather than kill the stoner, I just threw my hands up. You stupid fuckers. Stupid, selfish, ridiculous fuckers.


This I didn't mind so much. In their place, I wouldn't have necessarily believed a single word coming from the leader of a group who had just terrorized, tortured and murdered three of my friends, and who was now telling me I needed to die for some nebulous Greater Good. Even if I did believe her, I think it's very probable my respoinse would have been, "You know what? Fuck you."

#16

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Posted Apr 15, 2012 @ 5:30 PM

I liked how over-the-top it got. As soon as I saw the whiteboard, I was hoping i'd get to see some Scarecrow Folk.


I laughed at "Kevin" being on the whiteboard. I want to know what's so horrifying about Kevin.

#17

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Posted Apr 15, 2012 @ 9:16 PM

Well, you know, We Need to Talk About Kevin. He's quite the dangerous lad. My favorite was "Sugarplum Fairy" the ballerina?

So Joss Whedon's main ambition the last several years wasn't, in fact, The Avengers movie, but to remake Funny Games. Who knew?


I was thinking the same. It's like a comedy version of Funny Games (if such a thing could be) that doesn't make you feel terrible about watching it.

Anyone seen Tucker and Dale vs. Evil? Another satire on the "cabin in the woods" genre, and it has Alan Tudyk! But this went way further, and I liked it better. I was also reminded of My Little Eye.

I was kinda hoping the movie would end with Marty ruthlessly slaying Dana and proclaiming himself the actual virgin. (There was some talk of him dating Jules in the past that never went anywhere as far as I could tell, and could have set up this "revelation.") The nihilist ending didn't bother me, but a funny twist would've been nice.

I like how the script took pains to establish that Kurt and Jules were actually not-stupid kids who were being forced, to an extent, into these airhead roles. (She was pre-med!) And the actors had actual comic line readings rather than just being eye candy.

#18

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Posted Apr 16, 2012 @ 6:21 AM

I was kinda hoping the movie would end with Marty ruthlessly slaying Dana and proclaiming himself the actual virgin. (There was some talk of him dating Jules in the past that never went anywhere as far as I could tell, and could have set up this "revelation.")


I would have loved this as well, especially as we knew from the outset that Dana wasn't a virgin. And, as you noted, they went out of their way to mention how Marty (the only character who left any real impression on me) and Jules had 'only made out.'

I liked the movie, but not quite as much as I'd been hoping and expecting to. It did mock a few of the usual horror tropes in ways that were effective; there were some witty lines (though not quite as many or as witty as I'd expect from Whedon); and the premise itself was clever and interesting to me. It's a matter of degree for me---it just wasn't as subversive, witty, clever, twisty, thrilling or generally satisfying as I'd hoped. I'm not sorry I saw it, but I could have very happily waited for it to find its way to Netflix!

Edited by MsTaken, Apr 16, 2012 @ 6:23 AM.


#19

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Posted Apr 16, 2012 @ 12:35 PM

My favorite was "Sugarplum Fairy" the ballerina?


Good catch. I was wondering who the ballerina was supposed to be. I was trying to identify the various brawlers in the crowd and match them against the characters listed on the big white board, but sadly, I didn't manage to spot any Scarecrow folk or witches...sexy, or otherwise. There didn't appear to be any vampires, either, which was a major omission. I assume Kevin was this universe's answer to Friday the 13th's Jason or Halloween's Michael Myers.

Somebody at the AV Club forum said there was a Carnival of Souls reference included, but I didn't recognise it if there was. The buddy I saw the movie with had never seen any of Clive Barker's Hellraiser series, so I had to explain the significance of the demony-looking guy dressed in leather who was carrying the circle-shaped puzzle box.

And I must say, the murderous doll people were refreshingly well dressed!

#20

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Posted Apr 17, 2012 @ 3:59 PM

Pretty sure the scarecrow folk were the ones who killed the black guard at the end. They looked pretty Scarecrowish to me, at least...

#21

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Posted Apr 18, 2012 @ 10:44 PM

I really enjoyed it - I liked the craziness at the end and figured that's where it was going. I wasn't disappointed, and had a good time throughout.

#22

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Posted Apr 19, 2012 @ 12:56 AM

up until the ending, when it just got too stupid.


Yeah, my best friend and I almost walked out when Sigourney Fucking Weaver strutted out to be all bombastic with her end-of-the-world, the "ancient ones" machinations. Goddamnit. She totally ruined the movie for me.

I had heard it was going to be a Truman-show, Hunger Games type of premise, but it was just silly in parts. The whole ancient gods thing really ruined it for me. It was interesting and compelling, and it probably would have been a shade more believable if it had been like the Truman Show/Hunger Games where the killing of innocent people was for the pleasure of the audience.

I also really thought the guy with the creepy razor ball was going to be significant. I really did.

The best line was "He was so close to blowing the conch shell. I'm never going to see a merman, am I??"

Edited by LucyJJane, Apr 19, 2012 @ 12:58 AM.


#23

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Posted Apr 19, 2012 @ 11:23 AM

I really liked it. I hadn't heard or seen much about it so all I knew going in was that it was a horror movie involving kids at a cabin in the woods. I wasn't even sure what kind of a horror movie it was going to be. I was telling my friends as we were walking in that they should stay if they like the movie, but if it was torture porn, I was going home. I was confused about the ending. I loved how over the top it was, but I thought the point was the workers/engineers were going to be the true sacrifice. There were a ton of parallels between the kids and the workers.

A couple of things I didn't quite understand:
First, am I imagining this, or did one of the characters (Bradley Whitford or Richard Jenkins) say something early on about this being a test of free will? I don't remember his exact words, but it led me to believe that the zombies, etc that were being unleashed on them weren't "real" and that it was almost going to be a mind over matter thing. Clearly that wasn't the case. Unless they were just referring to the choose-your-own adventure aspect of the game (e.g., selecting how you die).

sweetcookieface, regarding the first question, yes, the free will comment referred only to the fact that once the kids were in the cellar (which they said was as far as they could push them), it was their choice to play with what they found and their choice which things they picked, and, thus, how they'd die.

They made a huge deal about how the kids have free will; they could choose not to go into the cellar. The new guy pointed out numerous times that the workers didn't have to bet on the kids or get enjoyment from watching the kids die. Then the workers actually sign up for their monster on a giant white board, thus choosing their death. And it's the only thing that explains, to me, the free-all-monsters button.

Seriously, you have this elaborate system that contains all these horrible monsters--why the hell would you build in a System Release button (or whatever it was) to set them all loose? The only possible reason I could see was exactly what happened, to unleash carnage on the complex, and why would the people in charge want to do that?

Exactly. The workers had free will. They didn't have to get bet on kids' horrible death. They didn't have to celebrate and drink while the virgin was fighting for her life on the screen behind them. They didn't have to rush around the building and hot-wire the computer in order to blow the tunnel*. They chose to trap the kids there. They set up everything that led to the kids making it to the control room and freeing the monsters. I thought that was the whole point. There was even the parallel of the workers watching the kids die on screen and the random scenes of workers dying on the screens in the background. I mean, the merman made a point to drag his water-needing body all the way to the center room to kill the one guy who signed up for him. So I was really confused when the new guy died and the thousands of deaths weren't an acceptable sacrifice.

*That reminds me, who stopped the tunnel from being blown up and why? The workers kept mentioning orders coming from Downstairs, but then the glitch that stopped the tunnel collapsing came from Upstairs. And everyone seemed really suprised/scared that Upstairs did that. I thought that Upstairs was maybe the good guys and they were giving the workers their free-will chance to let the kids go, but then the whole world really did end so I don't undertand that part.

Edited by Rockstar99435, Apr 19, 2012 @ 11:35 AM.


#24

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Posted Apr 19, 2012 @ 3:08 PM

I really enjoyed the film, even though I generally don't go to horror flicks. I didn't expect it to be as funny as it was. I was torn between cheering on the two kids at the end giving a big FU to the whole thing and thinking, wait, it's not as though they are going to live--why condemn the whole planet if you are going to die along with everyone else? Yes, the system of human sacrifice is seriously effed up, but 99.99 percent of the planet knows nothing about it and doesn't really share the guilt. If the office folks had spent more time trying to figure out how to defeat the Old Ones instead of installing their elaborate rat's maze, it might have turned out differently. But that's a different movie.

The little Japanese schoolgirls defeat of the ghost (or Ringu or whatever it was) was hysterical, as was the reactions of Bradley Whitford and Richard Jenkins characters to that scene.

Then the workers actually sign up for their monster on a giant white board, thus choosing their death.

Ok, I'm an idiot, I didn't catch this at all. Of course, I knew that the merman was his favorite, but did everyone else get killed by the same horror that they picked on the white board? I can't remember what Richard Jenkins' character chose--did he get killed by it? Also would love to know what the intern had written on his sign that he was holding up to the screen--I'll probably have to wait for the DVD for that.

I was kinda hoping the movie would end with Marty ruthlessly slaying Dana and proclaiming himself the actual virgin.

That's what I thought would happen too, especially after she changed her mind about shooting him.

I want Marty's bong. Loved that it was the fact that he was constantly stoned that prevented the gases and other machinations from manipulating him.

Edited by chailey, Apr 19, 2012 @ 3:09 PM.


#25

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Posted Apr 19, 2012 @ 3:42 PM

*That reminds me, who stopped the tunnel from being blown up and why? The workers kept mentioning orders coming from Downstairs, but then the glitch that stopped the tunnel collapsing came from Upstairs. And everyone seemed really suprised/scared that Upstairs did that. I thought that Upstairs was maybe the good guys and they were giving the workers their free-will chance to let the kids go, but then the whole world really did end so I don't undertand that part.


I presumed that when Marty was messing around and hotwiring the lift, that he somehow accidentally glitched the tunnel collapse mechanism.

#26

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Posted Apr 19, 2012 @ 3:54 PM

Then the workers actually sign up for their monster on a giant white board, thus choosing their death.

Ok, I'm an idiot, I didn't catch this at all. Of course, I knew that the merman was his favorite, but did everyone else get killed by the same horror that they picked on the white board? I can't remember what Richard Jenkins' character chose--did he get killed by it?

I tried to keep track of who people were killed by, but I'm not sure. And my theory gets totally wrecked by the fact that the new guy who didn't vote still was killed.

Also would love to know what the intern had written on his sign that he was holding up to the screen--I'll probably have to wait for the DVD for that.

It looked like he was flipping through a couple of signs so I don't know all of them, but one sign read, "I'm just an intern".

#27

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Posted Apr 19, 2012 @ 3:58 PM

Ok, I'm an idiot, I didn't catch this at all. Of course, I knew that the merman was his favorite, but did everyone else get killed by the same horror that they picked on the white board? I can't remember what Richard Jenkins' character chose--did he get killed by it?


Jenkins was killed by the virgin - she stabbed him as he rounded a corner.

Also would love to know what the intern had written on his sign that he was holding up to the screen--I'll probably have to wait for the DVD for that.


According to IMDB:

Trapped in a closet
Dragonbat has my scent
Send help!

#28

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Posted Apr 27, 2012 @ 12:39 PM

When they described Marty as The Fool, I was sure he was going to survive. The Fool in fairy tales wins when others don't and ia as protected a character as the Maiden. But then, this is Joss's world, and everybody dies...

I really wanted to love this movie (LOVED Tucker and Dale vs Evil) as I worship at the throne of Joss, but it didn't quite get there. I liked the scenes of the living nightmares released on the people who were playing on them but I wish we'd had a little more of the philosophy and mythology than just blood and gore.

#29

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Posted Apr 27, 2012 @ 9:49 PM

I thought that when Sigourney Weaver and the zombie girl fell into the pit with the Ancient Ones that they would be enough to save the world. SW (the fool) and the zombie girl (the virgin). It kinda works, doesn't it?

#30

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Posted Apr 29, 2012 @ 2:14 PM

*That reminds me, who stopped the tunnel from being blown up and why? The workers kept mentioning orders coming from Downstairs, but then the glitch that stopped the tunnel collapsing came from Upstairs. And everyone seemed really suprised/scared that Upstairs did that. I thought that Upstairs was maybe the good guys and they were giving the workers their free-will chance to let the kids go, but then the whole world really did end so I don't undertand that part.


I assumed that Sigorney Weaver's character realized that Marty wasn't dead yet, so if the tunnel was blown and the gang got killed, that'd mess up the order since the virgin didn't die last. But then again, if the tunnel had been blown from the beginning that wouldn't have killed anyone directly, so I don't know. You'd think with the total control they exerted on the cabin and surroundings that they'd have a failsafe in case the tunnel didn't immediately explode.

I assumed that the facility stuff was a big riff on evil organizations in general. They could have done any number of things differently and more competently. Not had the Big Red Button. Sent more than 1 guard to separate the kids and kill Marty. Had an elevator override button. If the Big Red Button was absolutely necessary, they could have had a guard who was assigned to never leave that room. Had some sort of emergency plan in the event that a monster gets loose in the facility. Put some sort of monitors into the kids to track their life signs. So while the cabin part is taking apart the horror genre, the downstairs part is taking apart the "supervillain / evil company" genre.