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The Cabin in the Woods

SXSW 2012 film review

Cabin in the Woods

Director: Drew Goddard | Screenwriters: Joss Whedon & Drew Goddard 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. Cast: Kristen Connolly, Fran Kranz, Anna Hutchison, Chris Hemsworth, Jesse Williams, Richard Jenkins, and Bradley Whitford (World Premiere)

CLICK HERE to read Morrow McLaughlin's full Scorecard Review of The Cabin in the Woods

Film Synopsis (from SXSW.com)

WHO'S IT FOR? If you've ever willingly sat through a horror film, or just want something you haven't seen before, then you owe it to yourself to see this film.


They thought of everything. That sentence is all you need to know. Stop reading this and make sure you go in fresh to The Cabin in the Woods. I know I say that a lot, but it's never been more true with this film. There will be no spoilers here, but there is also no need to read this review to try and make up your mind. Go see it. Don't watch a preview, don't read a tweet, just go see it.

I am not a horror fanatic. I don't seek them out. I loved this film and can't stop smiling about it. The TV show "Top Chef" always talks about deconstructing food. Goddard and Whedon have deconstructed horrors films like no other I have ever seen.

The five kids who are isolated in a cabin in the woods are cliches, yet I loved every one of them. That is just one very impressive part of this film. We actually start with two company men (Jenkins and Whitford) having regular old office banter. They continue to be part of the comic relief of this film, even when you're not sure how they fit into the overall story. Whitford especially is on full, brilliant display. Let's get back to the kids. As soon as the jock (Hemsworth) and the blonde (Hutchinson) have a "I learned it from watching you" conversation, I knew I'd be entertained. If you don't know what I'm referring to, you didn't grow up in the '80s with a certain anti-drug conversation. They play against and with cliches. Dana (Connolly) is frail, yet powerful. Marty (Kanz) and Holden (Williams) fill out the five-some with comedy, caring and most importantly hope for survival in a really mind-melding way.

The horror comes from all of our collective nightmares, allowing us to observe, get scared and still have an intelligent distance from the horror, trying to figure out the bigger puzzle.

If that bigger puzzle gets ruined for you, I am truly sorry. When I saw what they were doing, I'd actually think, "Oh, they should take the movie in that direction," or, "That would be cool if they did this." Guess what? They thought of everything. I feel like the film leaves no horror movie stone unturned. Old photos, creepy dolls, deserted cabin, creepy gas station attendant, and thousands of more things feel fresh and new. The story of people in the woods has been told, just not like this.

I think back to my college years and seeing Scream for the first time. I loved the experience as my friends and I (on a triple date) strained our necks to watch that film in the front row. I had a lot of fun with that horror film. As of this moment, it suddenly feels like it doesn't compare.

With Cabin in the Woods, I have never had more fun watching a horror movie.


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