What it means to be a successful deconstruction

by Mr. Nobel

By the way, spoilers (kind of).

Cabin in the Woods is a fine movie, but I didn’t quite think it was extraordinary.

The issue, I think, is that, for all its clever formalism, Cabin in the Woods doesn’t successfully deconstruct a horror movie nor does it fully understand what it means to be a horror film. There’s never a point in the movie in which you get the feeling that Goddard actually likes the kind of schlocky trash Cabin in the Woods makes fun of.

I understand, to a large extent, why – 99% of horror films are formulaic, campy, trashy, exploitative, pedantic, etc. Yet, there’s a lot to admire and learn from horror films. Crucially, even really shitty horror films offer some scary moments. Cabin in the Woods never manages to eek even a jump scare out of me. A good deconstruction should be able to extract the essence of what makes something work and transplant it into something else. For all of Goddard’s pointed and appropriate commentary, he never seems to figure out what makes horror tick.

Additionally, even though Goddard makes fun of rote stock characterization in horror films, his characters are bland. When he subverts stereotype, he does so at the expense of any personality. So the slutty girl is slutty because of some chemicals in the hair dye. Who the fuck is this person then? Why should I care if she lives or dies?