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SXSW 2012 Wrap-Up: ‘ Cabin In The Woods’ and more!

SXSW 2012 Wrap-Up: ‘ Cabin In The Woods’ and more!

Black Pond

Directed by Tom Kingsley & Will Sharpe

Black Pond heralds an incredibly original, startlingly mature, and completely inscrutable new film-making duo. It’s unclear what exactly they have made with Black Pond; suffice it to say it is equal parts profound and hilarious while refusing classification… (read the full review)

Cabin In The Woods

Directed by Drew Goddard

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… (read the full review)


Written and directed by Craig Zobel

As it is with train wrecks, so it goes with Compliance, a thoroughly shattering film that is less a narrative than a descent into the depths of human weakness. Inspired by roughly 70 real world accounts, Compliance is the tale of a young fast food employee, here named Becky (Dreama Walker), who is interrogated, stripped, and abused by her manager and others because a man impersonating an officer over the phone has instructed them to. Given how ludicrous that is outside of the context of it actually happening, director Craig Zobel makes the sordid affair eminently believable… (read the full review)


Directed by  Juan Carlos Fresnadillo

Intruders is a cyclical examination of monsters and nightmares and where they come from and why they persist. To this extent, its a successful endeavour. But as a satisfying, complete narrative it is a bit too muddled and a bit too slight. Director Juan Carlos Fresnadillo provides enough beautiful imagery and haunting mystery to carry much of the film–though some credit goes to the three great leads–but ultimately the film fades to black and then continues fading… (read the full review)

Directed by Chris James Thompson

The opening frames of Jeff, which linger on fish swimming in an aquarium as Jeffrey Dahmer (Andrew Swant) admires them, suggest this film isn’t like the other documentaries. And in many ways it is not. Begun as a fictionalized account of Jeffrey Dahmer doing his errands, director Chris James Thompson eventually decided to turn the film into a documentary to make it more dynamic. His interest was not in the specifics of the case (which are mentioned off hand when at all) but in the ways everyone involved in the case was effected… (read the full review)

John Dies at the End
Directed by Don Coscarelli

There’s a lot to like here: it’s outrageously funny, visceral and hallucinogenic. Everyone, from the new faces to the old pros like Clancy Brown and Glynn Turman (and Giamatti, of course), give solid performances. If Coscarelli had any doubts about adapting the source material they don’t show in his direction which is calm and assured. .. (read the full review)

Directed by David Zellner

Kid-Thing is a coming of age fable. That’s the filmmakers’ phrasing, not mine, and while it is surprisingly apt, the filmmakers forgo many of the customs and pitfalls of either genre to craft a wholly unique and pleasantly odd character study… (read the full review)

Directed by Tim Sutton

Pavilion follows faithfully, and proudly, in the tradition of naturalistic film-making that Gus Van Sant operates in when he’s not making Oscar winning dramas. But if director Tim Sutton is a technical descendant of Van Sant, he’s a spiritual disciple of Terrence Malick. According to Sutton, Pavilion is a portrait of children in a landscape and in many ways that is what Tree of Life definitively provided. But Sutton here is steadfast in his quest to archive the experience of childhood, and this film is uncannily successful at capturing the tiniest details of being a youth… (read the full review)


Directed by Scott Derrickson

Derrickson takes plenty of cues from horror canon–and if you’re sick of cultish iconography and creepy children, steer clear. Also, as many frightening mysteries can, Sinister loses some of its fright in the coda. But given how great and welcome the relief of tension a little bit of explanation provides, we’ll call it a wash. Repeat viewing may diminish the film’s effect as well, but this remains an incredibly classy production which belies its small budget. Not only is it skillfully shot, with truly chilling found footage, but the score is a masterpiece of electronic dread… (read the full review)

The Source
Directed by Jodi Wille and Maria Demopoulos

This is a sure-handed and revealing document of humanity on the fringes. Ultimately about the demise of a hard burning flame, the slick editing, fantastic soundtrack, and often hilarious footage make this doc considerable fun as well. Connoisseurs of outsider art, healthy food, 70s rock and roll, yoga and eastern spirituality, drugs, free love, or white flowing garbs will get plenty out of this, as will all you folks just confused and obsessed with the human condition… (read the full review)

Directed by Adam Wingard, David Bruckner, Ti West, Glenn McQuaid, Joe Swanberg, Radio Silence

Part of the conceit for the project was that the directors developed the pieces independently of each other. That may account in part for the lack of consistency. It would have been nice to see what the collaborators could have come up with had there been more of a framework to work within, if instead of a handful of unrelated shorts we could have had a series of vignettes that grow upon a central narrative. Sadly V/H/S doesn’t break any of the molds we might have liked it to. It’s a mixed bag, as is the case with most anthologies. Heavy on style and packing plenty of street cred, V/H/S will continue to thrill festival audiences ahead of what should be a successful run on DVD and video on demand… (read the full review)

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