Warning: This post is about the ending for the recent release The Cabin in the Woods. The trailer is below. If, for any reason, you are interested in seeing this movie, then you should stop reading right now. Otherwise, I will meet you below the trailer. Seriously, you've been warned. "Spoiler" doesn't even begin to cover what this blog post is about.
This cannot end well.
'The Cabin in the Woods', directed and co-written by Drew Goddard with Joss Whedon as co-writer and producer, stars Kristen Connolly, Chris Hemsworth, Anna Hutchison, Jesse Williams, Fran Kranz and Richard Jenkins. Technically a horror movie, critics called it scary, strange, and funny.
The plot starts off with two strains: A couple management-types who appear to work in a massive installation, preparing for a big event. And, a group of five beautiful young people head up in an RV to a cousin's cabin. Continuing up the treacherous one-way path, out of cell service and past the old man who basically tells them they won't be able to make it back down the mountain, the group makes it to the cabin without hassle. Fran Kranz's 'Marty,' the group stoner, rolls a joint while extolling the praises of getting off the grid. "Go some place for one Goddamn weekend where you can't globally position my ass."
When one of the girls asks Marty being the typical stoner question, "Is society crumbling, Marty?" He responds with, "No, society is binding. Right? It's filling in the cracks with concrete. Everything's filed or reported, logged, right? Chips in our kids' heads so they won't get lost. Society needs to crumble. We're all just too chicken shit to let it." The group laughs, the audience laughs, and the story moves on.
By this point, the audience is fully aware of the facility filled with hundreds of people who seem to be anticipating a momentous occasion. Wearing lab coats and riding around on golf carts, it becomes apparent they're manipulating the group into going into the cabin's basement. Once down there, they tip over the proverbial domino. Once the zombie redneck torture family wakes up (yes, you read that right) it becomes a full-stop horror movie. If it weren't for the constant reminders about the existence of The Facility, and the pedestrian way the workers react to the horrific events unfolding onscreen before both you and them, it'd be easy to call this just a horror flick. But, this movie is beyond horror.
Before too long, we think Kristin Connolly's 'Dana' is the only one left. The Facility is in midst of a celebration, because they achieved their goal: the group was sent there to fulfill a sacrifice. So long as the first four died, the ritual was a success. So while Connolly is fighting for her life on the jumbo screen behind the revelers, we're just as shocked as those at The Facility when Marty reappears (seemingly from the dead) to save her life. The Facility is scrambling, because now the ritual is in crisis. Marty has found the elevator used to send the zombie family up to the cabin, and has figured out a way to get it to go down.
So down they go. Into the facility, which has mobilized veritable SWAT teams to meet them. Once in the facility, Dana finds a way to release all the creatures, beasts and nightmare-worthy beings that had been held captive in The Facility. In the ensuing bloodbath, Marty and Dana are simply trying to stay alive. It isn't until they reach the basement that they know the full extent of what they're dealing with.
Kristin Connolly and Fran Kranz, about to get real.
The Director appears, to make an appeal to Dana. The ritual they were unwittingly participating in (or by failing to die, failing to participate in?) was an ancient one, carried out by untold numbers of civilizations, in an attempt at keeping the Ancient Ones asleep. If they rise, we're told, it means the end of humanity as we know it. The Director asks Dana to kill Marty, as it is only his death that will keep the Ancient Ones from rising up.
Before Dana can make her decision, she's bitten by a werewolf and The Director is taken out of the equation. Now it's just Dana and Marty, with a shaking Earth and the end of the world upon them. They sit, smoke a joint, and briefly acknowledge the passing of human civilization.
Then, it's over. The Ancient Gods wake up, the protagonists we've just fallen for are presumably gone, and so are all of us. The End.
Now, there have always been a good number of apocalyptic visions in movies. But what other movie had the same sense of glee? Or the attitude of, "it's about time?"
One of my classes right now is talking about Occupy Wall Street, so we're talking about revolution, social movements, and pretty much everything that comes with trying to talk about those issues. I couldn't help but think of those conversations immediately when the final scene ended, and the world as we knew it had just been obliterated because a couple 20-somethings were pissed off and just done. In some ways, I appreciate the bravado. Could Marty be right? Is this society too messed up to be saved? Think of it from his perspective. He just discovered a secret military-grade installation whose sole reason for existence was to prepare him to be a sacrifice to appease some ancient gods. I'd be a little upset about too. If that's what we as a people are capable of, then why are we so worth saving?
I guess, as someone who sometimes has to purposefully remember to use my "optimism" gaze on the world's issues, the whole idea of just wiping the slate clean like that felt a little too refreshing. That may say more about my own mindset than anything else. But, as far as I know there aren't ancient slumbering gods beneath us. If that's the case, wiping the slate isn't going to be an option, no matter what Marty says.