SXSW 2012: ‘Cabin In The Woods’ a flashy, good-natured display of shock, scares and comedy

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Cabin In The Woods

Directed by Drew Goddard

Screenplay by Joss Whedon and Drew Goddard

2012, USA

If you’re familiar with the writing style and general playfulness of Joss Whedon, you already know whether you will like this film. Not to discredit the game, fantastic cast, but fans of Whedon and co-writer/director Drew Goddard know who the real stars here are, and this movie is fantastic precisely because of its script.

Cabin In The Woods is a horror movie like Buffy The Vampire Slayer was a horror TV show. It is a horror movie, but that doesn’t even begin to describe it. This film is delightful. It is funny, scary, and shocking in generally equal measure. It is clear, from the moment the title card hits, how much joy Whedon and Goddard derive from playing with genre tropes. Woods was a huge crowd pleaser here at SX, as I assume it will be for the audience which will inevitably seek it out–i.e. the hordes of fanboys Whedon has accumulated since creating Buffy.

“intelligent and playful but some may find it pretentious and tonally cluttered….

The ostensible setup is familiar: five 20-somethings head out to a cabin (in the woods) to drink and frolic as us young folks are wont to do. And, as this is a cabin in the woods, shit starts going south fast. To honor as much I can the love and care put into this film, I won’t go into any specifics. Suffice it to say, Woods is flagrantly post-modern and occasionally overbearingly meta. The cast all add a welcome depth and character to your typical archetypes, with Kristen Connolly and Fran Kranz stealing the show. The action here is fun and scary, with some staggeringly imaginative effects making up for occasionally dodgy CGI.

Cabin In The Woods is everything you could expect from such a collaboration…

This is certainly not to everyone’s tastes. It is intelligent and playful but some may find it pretentious and tonally cluttered. For fans of these two writers, though, Cabin In The Woods is everything you could expect from such a collaboration. And it is likely not what you were expecting at all.

–Emmet Duff

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