The Cabin In The Woods: A Love Letter to the Horror Genre

Directed by Drew Goddard (Angel, Lost, Dollhouse, Cloverfield)
Written by Drew Goddard & Joss Whedon
Whatever you think The Cabin In The Woods (CITW) is going to be, it’s not.  CITW is just as much comedy as it is horror and thankfully, it doesn’t take itself seriously.  Goddard blended just the right mix of both to make the perfect homage to the 1980’s horror genre.  The movie’s tag line, “Discover The Secret,” sets audience up wonder what’s going on as the plot slowly unfolds.  Yes, I admit I slowly figured it out by the “third act” as Goddard calls it, but it didn’t matter by then and I still didn’t have it all figured out. 
The movie opens with two men, Hadley (Bradley Whitford), and Sitterson (Richard Jenkins) in an underground facility taking a golf cart to their office.  Lin (Amy Acker) from the chemistry department stops them to discuss some drug.  It’s all pretty cryptic, like when best friends talk about an event without finishing a sentence because they know the story.  That’s also what keeps it interesting.  We are made to try to figure out ‘the truth behind the cabin in the woods.’
Then cut to five college friends leaving to spend a weekend at a remote cabin.  Sound like an 80’s horror film yet?  No?  Ok, the five friends are Curt the jock (Chris Helmsworth), Jules the slutty girlfriend (Anna Hutchison), Dana the bookworm (Kristen Connelly), Holden the blind date good guy(Jesse Williams), and Marty the stoner/conspiracy theorist (Fran Kranz).  Now I bet it sounds like an 80’s horror flick.
After a few hilarious scenes, the friends take off in their Winnebago for the weekend.   They stop for gas and directions and meet Mordecai (Tim De Zarn), a creepy man that throws insults at everyone and warns them the cabin is easy to find, but getting back is the difficult part.  They ignore him and quickly leave to find the cabin.  Then someone does something they shouldn’t, releasing a horror and the killing starts.  We all root for who we want to survive while continuing to ‘discover the secret.’ 
Goddard continuously cuts back and forth between the cabin and the facility.  It sounds confusing, but it’s really not. He cuts away at appropriate times so the viewer doesn’t become lost or confused.  Everything flows seamlessly.  It’s “basically Evil Dead meets the Truman Show,” shares Fran Kranz (Marty).
The crowd’s excitement added to the movie.  We cheered, clapped, ewwed, laughed and snorted.  There were even several ‘Yeahs.’  The best part with this interactive experience…everyone did or said the same thing(s) at the same time which is no small feat for a director.

This movie was so perfectly cast.  The standout comedic acting (Kranz, Whitford, Jenkins) along with inventive weapons (gotta get me that travel coffee mug), creatures, ways to die, and the clever writing collaboration of Goddard and Joss Whedon are what make The Cabin in the Woods its own movie and not a copy of any 80’s horror film.  This is already on my best movies ever list.

Goddard said, “This film is my love letter to the [horror] genre.”  The Cabin in the Woods definitely shows who influenced him.  I was able to pick out his two main mentors.  Can You?  Watch Cabin in the Woods in theaters April 13th.  Then come back here to read the Q&A with Drew Goddard and Amy Acker.  Find out the real reason the movie was delayed, if anything was left out, and who cares about werewolves. 


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