I can't think of any other film in recent memory that I've argued with more people about than The Cabin in the Woods, and it doesn't even come out until April13th (though expect a ton of Twitter and blog buzz about it after its world premiere this Friday at SXSW). The strange thing, though, is that there's little argument as to the quality of the movie. I, like everyone else I know who caught it last December at Butt-Numb-a-Thon, was blown away by it. Whether it's a good movie or not isn't even in question - it just is - the debate concerns just how much of the film's clever twists on the genre should be revealed in the marketing.
Lionsgate was off to an inspired start when they released the first poster for the film, which makes all the cogent points instantly clear: it's a horror movie, but there's just ... something different about it. Revealing what exactly is different, however, is the sticking point.
I actually think the first trailer does an admirable job of selling the film for exactly what it is: co-eds trapped in the all too familiar cabin in the woods premise, only there are grander designs at play. Having seen the film, I can attest there's little-to-nothing from the film's insane third act in that first trailer (there's one shot it could do without, but that's it), and the weirdness on display isn't a spoiler because the entire conceit of the movie is that this isn't your average horror movie.
The new teaser, though, may play a little too cavalier with what it shows. I still don't think anything in it is truly a spoiler, because, again, the movie makes no attempt to hide the fact that it's entire goal is to be unlike any other movie of its ilk. But, I do think it does the audience a disservice because it's tossing out so many out-of-context images that your brain switches from, "Huh, that's different and I'm intrigued," (which the first trailer accomplishes) to a more active "Why are all of those images there?" It plays not like a teaser, but a cheat sheet for deciphering a code, and when film geeks are presented with something like that, particularly for a film that's been sitting on a shelf for two years, some manner of unfortunate Pavlovian response kicks in and people are going to try to make sense of everything in order to reconcile how it all fits their idea of what the film should be.
The problem with cutting trailers like this is that it comes with the implication that there's some grand, you'll never-see-it-coming twist and that the movie spends its time building to that. That's simply not the case. Cabin in the Woods doesn't build toward a twist, its entire foundation is the twist and the film proper makes zero attempt to hide that. If you're going to argue being shown even that much is a spoiler, you might as well be saying knowing it was co-written by Joss Whedon is a spoiler. The man exists to toy with conventions. I wouldn't be surprised to learn he's trained his body to breathe in CO2 and exhale oxygen.
Basically, I'm not saying that the entire movie is going to be spoiled for you if you have the audacity to watch a trailer for it. Obviously there are things that shouldn't be shown, and I'm clearly not even talking specific points, but this latest teaser isn't something you need agonize over. Don't assume the disparate images in it are massive spoilers, because they're really not, and don't treat it like pieces of a puzzle that need aligning. See it for what it is: only a fraction of the pure genre high that's in store.