SXSW FILM 2012
By Dave Campbell | March 10, 2012
Director: Drew Goddard
Writers: Joss Whedon, Drew Goddard
Starring: Kristen Connolly, Chris Hemsworth, Anna Hutchison, Fran Kranz, Jesse Williams, Richard Jenkins, Bradley Whitford
Let’s address this up front; this review is spoiler free. I recommend going into this film without knowing pretty much anything about it other than it’s crazy entertaining. It’s also worth noting that this film has been on the shelf since 2010 due to the fall of MGM.
The film opens wasting no time by getting us up to speed on the story setup. Our first characters are two lab coat wearing technicians Richard (Bradley Whitford) and Steve (Richard Jenkins) in an unnamed facility. They set off the playfully and perfectly timed humorous tone that continues throughout the film. We land right in the middle of a friendly banter between them and a female coworker who is basically reminding them not to screw up their project today.
We then jump to a two-story apartment building somewhere in the pacific northwest where we meet the sexy yet innocent co-ed Dana (Kristen Connolly), frolicking around in her undies in front of an open window. Her also sexy and more experienced (if you know what I mean) roommate Jules (Anna Hutchison) enters the room announcing that she just colored her hair blonde and that Dana better pack her bikini for the weekend. They are about to embark on an epic getaway with Jules’ intellectual jock boyfriend Curt who is bringing along his brainiac buddy Holden (Jesse Williams) in hopes that he and Dana will hook up after her breakup with a professor. Then to further complete this classic ensemble, their 5th wheel stoner pal Marty (Fran Kranz) pulls up in his smoked out Volvo 240 wagon with his bong disguised as a travel coffee mug in tow. The group of five board a Winnebago for a weekend trip to (you guessed it) a cabin in the woods, which was recently purchased by Curt’s cousin. The cliché spectacle doesn’t even slow down at this point, but for this film that’s a good thing.
A quick glance at the exterior of The Cabin in the Woods would lead you to believe that it’s just another redundant horror tale that you’ve seen ten times over…but that is not the case at all. The Cabin in the Woods is the kind of film that shouldn’t be discussed in great detail until it’s been seen by all parties in conversation. The Cabin in the Woods works so well because of the way that it makes fun of, yet embraces every premise element of the horror genre. It’s a film that will enliven the ever loyal horror fan that has stood by the genre for years as the studio machines turn out let-down after let-down. Filmmakers Drew Goddard and Joss Whedon know their audience well, which is demonstrated by the amount of tributes that are generously dived up of just about every single horror movie that has ever existed. The Cabin in the Woods begins with a simple concept that becomes something way bigger than anyone will expect.