Five friends go to a remote cabin in the woods. Bad things happen.If you think you know this story, think again. From fan favorites Joss Whedon and Drew Goddard comes "The Cabin in the Woods," a mind blowing horror film that turns the genre inside out. Five friends go to a remote cabin in the woods. Bad things happen. If you think you know this story, think again. From fan favorites Joss Whedon and Drew Goddard comes The Cabin in the Woods, a mind blowing horror film that turns the genre inside out.Shot in early 2009 and shelved for more than two years from its original release date because of MGM’s financial turmoil, the film was acquired last year by Lionsgate. After premiering March 9 as the opener of the South by Southwest Film Festival (a savvy move given the target demographic), it will be released domestically April 13. Whedon cultists should turn out in sufficient numbers to goose initial box office, but only the geek faithful are likely to buy this high-concept slasher riff, which seems less like a movie than a video game waiting to happen.
Whedon protege Goddard worked as a writer on TV's Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Angel before teaming with J.J. Abrams on Alias and Lost, and as screenwriter of Cloverfield. That résumé no doubt has earned him his own following. But Whedon and Goddard run riot here on a script so overworked and convoluted, it makes the most arcane developments on Lost play like a “Spot the Dog” basal reader.The story-within-the-story has five archetypal college kids going off the grid for a weekend at a remote cabin by a mountain lake. There’s the slut, Jules (Anna Hutchison); the alpha jock, Curt (Chris Hemsworth, who hopefully will get a better deal in Whedon’s upcoming The Avengers); the stoner, Marty (Fran Kranz); the sensitive scholar, Holden (Jesse Williams); and the virgin, or the closest thing available, Dana (Kristen Connolly).
Given that the film’s primary twist can be gleaned from the trailer and from the opening minutes, it’s no spoiler to reveal that the cabin and surrounding woods are part of an artificially sealed environment controlled from an underground lab. The puppet-masters working the monitors and running the betting pool on how these sacrificial lambs will meet their slaughter are pitiless midlevel corporate techies Hadley (Richard Jenkins) and Sitterson (Bradley Whitford).Adding a neat quirk, it appears that similar scenarios are being orchestrated around the world as part of an annual rite. The quick video flashes of a classroom of 9-year-old Japanese schoolgirls thrust into J-horror hell are a hoot.Back at the cabin, the kids are doing what kids in horror movies do: They tap the beer keg, smoke some weed, play truth or dare and make out. When the cellar trapdoor flies open (“Must have been the wind”), they investigate and find a cornucopia of creepy knick-knacks. As Sitterson, Hadley and their co-workers watch intently to see which bait they will take, Dana discovers a girl’s diary from 1903, detailing the bloody religious fanaticism of her butchering father. A Latin inscription serves as the trigger for mayhem. Movie In HD
Once zombified backwoods pain-worshippers rise up and start swinging knives and steel claws, the carnage is strictly routine. The more droll touches come from the lab, where temperature controls, pheromone mists and other behavioral modifiers are unleashed on the captives with deadpan glee.But when the predetermined order of death is disrupted and the cabin survivors turn the tables on their tormentors, liberating a whole army of deadly freaks and creatures, the climactic chaos becomes an excuse for orgiastic Grand Guignol excess. Cool for a minute or two, this quickly becomes numbing.Clues are planted early on as to the overarching theme, when bong philosopher Marty muses on the perilous course that techno-age humanity has taken. (Kranz, from Whedon’s Dollhouse series, does a spot-on Shaggy from Scooby-Doo in the role.) But the plot’s mythic underpinnings are ludicrous, with showing up as the company director in an unbilled cameo to blather on about “appeasing the ancient ones.” Given her association with the Alien and Ghostbusters series, Weaver’s iconic significance to both artful and comic horror makes her an ideal mistress of ceremonies for Whedon and Goddard’s killing party.
Effects work is slick, and Goddard keeps his foot on the accelerator with help from David Julyan’s suspense-building score. It’s just too bad the movie is never much more than a hollow exercise in self-reflexive cleverness that’s not nearly as ingenious as it seems to think.Stuck in limbo for what seemed like an eternity, Drew Goddard and Joss Whedon's The Cabin in the Woods emerges from the rubble of MGM's bankruptcy to deliver a much-needed shot in the arm to the horror genre. The trailers paint a picture of a conventional teen slasher flick, but it's the cryptic, Rubix cube-like poster that offers up the biggest hints about the titular cabin's hidden secrets.Directing debutant Goddard and his co-writer/producer Whedon, whose combined credits include Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Angel and Cloverfield, know a thing or two about genre entertainment. In Cabin, they gleefully turn the horror movie on its head. Not since Wes Craven's Scream has a film been so direct about peeling back the fourth wall.
The story tracks five friends as they head off for a getaway at a remote cabin. On the surface, they resemble the usual crowd of horror archetypes - the jock (Chris Hemsworth), the dumb blonde (Anna Hutchison), the virgin (Kristen Connolly), the bookish student (Jesse Williams) and the nerd (Fran Kranz). But Goddard and Whedon find smart ways to deconstruct these clichés throughout the course of their movie, simultaneously celebrating and vilifying a genre they both clearly have a love/hate relationship with.Chris Hemsworth in Joss Whedon's The Cabin in the Woods Why, in teen horror, do the protagonists seemingly commit acts of supreme stupidity to put themselves in harm's way? Why do the bookish and dweeby suddenly become frisky? Why does the hot blonde girl strip down to her underwear for no apparent reason? All these are points are tackled as Whedon and Goddard's sharp and articulate script goes post-modern.