The Cabin in the Woods: Meta-Slasher and Security State Satire

Serenity movie's Josh Whedon produced The Cabin in the Woods.

Ed. Note: I watched this film for the first time last night. Wow. Oh my God. Here are pics. “The narrative follows a typical slasher scenario with teens being menaced and murderlisted in an isolated cabin. So far, so Evil Dead. From the beginning though we know that there is something more going on than just the initial slasher narrative in the cabin scenes.” More. Here’s the Rotten Tomatoes review. Here’s a Josh Whedon fan site. Are you a Firefly fan? Don’t miss this 10th Anniversary celebration.

Anarchy and Culture First off, this isn’t really a review of Cabin in the Woods. I’ll be unpacking only a few of the many larger themes that the movie presents. Let me just say this. See it. See it tonight if you can. Pay the babysitter. Fight the traffic. Wait in the long lines. Pay the inflated ticket price. You won’t regret it.

Serenity movie's Josh Whedon produced The Cabin in the Woods.
Serenity movie’s Josh Whedon produced The Cabin in the Woods.

Secondly, this post is really intended for people that have seen the movie. I won’t cover a lot of the plot. Please, PLEASE stop reading this if you haven’t seen Cabin in the Woods, because this post contains numerous SPOILERS.

Okay. I think that this movie is about two main things. First, and most obviously, this is yet another meta-horror film in the tradition of Scream. Only, for me, this film leaps to the top of the meta-horror movie list. Scream was less successful as meta-horror, because it pointed up the clichés in horror films before proceeding to be just another horror film. Cabin in the Woods is different. The technicians who are watching the horror at the cabin unfold from the safety of their control room are a kind of surrogate audience. They resemble ourselves.

Like the technicians, we rave drunkenly at our screens when the clueless kid goes for a walk in the woods by himself, when the blonde bimbo is about to take her top off, when the courageous athlete attempts a full-frontal assault on the zombies when he is hopelessly outnumbered. We pretend to hate slasher flicks repeating the same procedures, but secretly that’s what keeps us coming back for more. We have anesthetized the terror that the genre is meant to inspire in us by making that terror familiar. Like the technicians in the control room, we know how the story will begin and end. What interests us are the particulars. Will the tormentors be zombies or werewolves? What implements of torture and murder will they use? What makes them scary?

Cabin in the Woods explores unexpected themes.
Cabin in the Woods explores unexpected themes.

This film demands accountability from the horror film audience. It shines a spotlight on the subterranean human urges that these films exploit. In many ways it is an anti-horror horror film. It splashes us with the blood and gore and then interrogates why we would want to see something like that. Cabin in the Woods, unlike Scream, never lets up. It gives us what we want and then it admonishes us for the sickies that we really are. But the blame doesn’t stop there. The secretive leader of the organization that develops the sacrifices at the cabin is called the Director.

The organization is a surrogate for the film industry that produces the slasher flicks that we love. What the film is trying to illuminate is the conspiracy in which film audiences and the film industry are complicit. These groups work together to produce texts that fictionalize ritual sacrifice, because there is a deep-seated human need, with documented historical antecedents, to witness the spilling of innocent blood.

Another very important facet of this film, one that seems largely ignored by critics, is that this is a satire of the Obama era security state. The unwitting participants in the cabin sacrifice are coerced into the roles that they will play-act during the performance. They are drugged into cartoonish versions of their former selves (perhaps literally cartoonish, the film seems to be pointing deliberately at Scooby-Doo.) The blonde bimbo is not really a blonde. The hair dye she uses to become blonde has been laced with powerful psychotropics which make her promiscuous and, well, dumb. The dumb jock is also not dumb, but a guy with a sociology scholarship. The virgin is not really virgin. And the rambling pot-head was supposedly going to be smoking a more medicated version of his usual stash during the trip, but his weed instead tunes him in to the fact that everyone around him seems to be controlled. There is a pro-marijuana message at work here.

Drew Goddard's film Cabin in the Woods is full of surprises!
Drew Goddard’s film Cabin in the Woods is full of surprises!

We live in a similar fish-tank that the unwitting travelers find themselves in. Our food and water has been chemically and genetically altered to make us artificially passive. The fascist control grid has created human sacrifices out of us by poisoning our environment to reduce the human population and quell rebellion. Make no mistake. You are being watched.

The film satirizes the artificial world in which we live and how it is nearly impossible to escape the matrix of information that is being used to monitor and control us. As the group approaches the eponymous cabin in the woods, the stoner expresses relief that they are entering a zone where their technological devices won’t be spying on them, and their habits won’t be monitored while they are on vacation in the middle of nowhere. When, in fact, the group is entering the very nexus of control.

This film is about the prevalence of this control. You can’t unplug from the worldwide control grid. You must become a part of it, even if you choose to fight it. Anarchy and Culture uses Google’s Blogger format, the very corporate architecture that has been used by the NSA to spy on you. Soon, Google will be in your head, and the intelligence apparatus will be given real-time information on every moment of your life.

We live in an amazing and terrifying age. Not only are the globalists watching everything we do from a safe distance while making their plans to destroy us, but we are also watching them. I no longer have to go deep behind enemy lines to find out about the world controllers’ agenda. Everything is declassified. Everything can be learned, can be studied. The forces of evil no longer care about maintaining a cloak of secrecy for their activities. They’ve accepted that maintaining that cloak is largely impossible in the long-run. They comfort themselves with the false assumption that no one will accept the truth, because the truth is so horrible, so they simply broadcast everything that they plan to do to us. All of their activities are hidden in plain sight. They are delusional. History has been the unending litany of governments trying to disguise evil as altruism, and the people eventually refuse to believe them and rise against them.

Our age is no different. We are very close to achieving full-spectrum awareness of our ersatz environment. This awareness will produce a tipping point, in which we will be temporarily enslaved by our masters until we organize against them and defeat them. The Cabin in the Woods anticipates this struggle that begins with unwitting slaves being preyed upon by an exploitative state. They gather enough information on the controllers’ agenda to provide them with a course of righteous action. This is the dramatization of events that will happen sometime in our future.

I knew nothing about this movie when I first went to see it, and when I got out of the theater I was stunned by how relevant some of the information in it was. This is how crazy reality is. A movie about an organization that creates an artificial environment for terrorizing kids with manufactured monsters resembles what happens to us every day. This movie is only one of the few films with an anti-globalist subtext that I’ve seen this year. Full spectrum awareness is rapidly approaching us, and even traditionally clueless Hollywood is tapping into the anti-government zeitgeist. But don’t just take my word for it, friends. Pretend for a moment that your environment is controlled and that everything is not as it seems.

Investigate my claims with careful, skeptical research. My bet is that you won’t just discover the zombies in the machine, you’ll pull back the curtain and find the men who pull the levers. When that happens, I’ll be there to show you how to escape the real cabin in the woods.

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