“The Cabin in the Woods” is directed and co-written by Drew Goddard and co-written and produced by Joss Whedon. It stars Kristen Connolly, Chris Hemsworth, Anna Hutchison, Fran Kranz, and Jesse Williams.
The film follows five friends who travel to a remote cabin for a holiday and become victims of a seemingly stereotypical horror movie plot while being observed via hidden cameras by mysterious office workers.
• Audio commentary with writer/director Drew Goddard and writer/producer Joss Whedon
• We Are Not Who We Are: Making the Cabin in the Woods
• The Secret Secret Stash:
• Marty’s Stash
• Hi, My name is Joss and I’ll be your guide
• Wonder-Con Q&A
• An Army of Nightmares: Make-Up & Animatronic Effects
• Primal Terror: Visual Effects
• It’s Not What You Think: The Cabin In The Woods Bonus View Mode
Sprung from the fertile imaginations of cult filmmakers Joss Whedon (“Buffy The Vampire Slayer,” “Dollhouse,” “The Avengers”) and Drew Goddard (Cloverfield, “Buffy The Vampire Slayer,” “Angel,” “Lost”), Lionsgate’s THE CABIN IN THE WOODS begins like any generic horror film might: a rambunctious group of five college friends steal away for a weekend of debauchery in an isolated country cabin, only to be attacked by horrific supernatural creatures in a night of endless terror and bloodshed. Sound familiar? Just wait. As the teens begin to exhibit standard horror movie behavior, a group of technicians in a control room are scrutinizing, and sometimes even controlling, every move the terrified kids make. The story behind their involvement is just the tip of the iceberg of a fantastical, I-can’t-believe-this-is-happening odyssey that explodes the conventions of the horror genre in a giddy sugar rush of bloody mayhem, wild imagination and sly humor.
Explains Goddard, “On one level, CABIN functions as your classic horror film. It’s the sort of movie where you grab your popcorn and hold your date tight while you watch five teenagers head to the woods and encounter terrible things. But it’s also our version of that type of movie. Which means things get a lot more insane than you might expect.”
CABIN actor Chris Hemsworth, known to most audiences as the titular hero in last summer’s hit, Thor, remembers the first time he read Goddard’s and Whedon’s script. “At first I thought, Oh, this is a regular horror movie. I don’t get it. And then it just continued to unfold and open up and blow me away every page. It just got crazier and crazier and crazier until – well, until never. It just doesn’t stop. It leads you down a path that seems recognizable, and slowly it completely subverts everything you know.”
Goddard and Whedon have crafted a love letter to the horror genre that pays homage to fright classics ranging from Sam Raimi’s Evil Dead to Dario Argento’s Suspiria. But while it clearly respects its predecessors, THE CABIN IN THE WOODS also questions the very tropes it’s re-enacting. “I love horror,” explains Whedon. “But the plots are becoming more and more predictable. The killings are more and more disgusting. The kids are becoming more and more expendable. And more love is put into the instruments of torture and no love at all is put into the dialogue polish. The ritual of it is getting cheapened.”
The first hint that this is not your average horror movie comes with the casting of veteran actors Bradley Whitford and Richard Jenkins, who play control room bosses Hadley and Sitterson. The two men, using a range of influential technology, force the five friends to embody horror stereotypes. While the kids might start out as more than most contemporary horror victims, they become increasingly powerless to resist Sitterson’s and Hadley’s ideas of how they should behave. “The control room bosses are a stand-in for us, the viewer,” explains Whedon. “But they also represent everything that we’re up against as storytellers: the need to hurt kids more and more on screen, to make them behave foolishly, to make the death of them the points as opposed to the suspense leading up to it.”
When it came to the film’s numerous special effects, Goddard and Whedon tried to avoid CGI effects whenever possible. “No matter how good digital effects are, you can’t beat a creature that’s really there. You can’t beat something that actually exists in front of you,” declares Goddard. “So the rule was always, ‘If we can make it, we’re gonna make it.’ And that guided everything that we did. It forced everyone to be more creative and I think the movie benefits from that aesthetic.”
Now that the film is completed and awaiting theatrical release, Goddard and Whedon have a moment to contemplate their work before the Whedonites and legions of genre fans light up the Internet with reviews. “I’m happiest that it is so close to what we originally intended,” says Goddard. “This is a movie that could so easily have been killed by the Hollywood system, and it says a lot about the strength of my producer that we never had to compromise our vision.”
“THE CABIN IN THE WOODS really is what Drew and I set out to write,” agrees Whedon. “Our intention was to create a two-hour experience that felt familiar to horror fans like us, but then flips it on its head, sending everyone into a fun tailspin.”
And what should horror fans, or Joss Whedon fans, expect from the film? Drew Goddard smiles. “You’re gonna see some things that you’ve never seen before in your life,” he says. “And you won’t believe some of the places we take you. But it’ll be fun. Also bloody and angry and horrific. That too. But mostly fun.”
“The Cabin in the Woods” is now available on DVD format in various video and record bars nationwide from C-Interactive.