The Cabin in the Woods is a 2012 American horror film directed and co-written by Drew Goddard and co-written and produced by Joss Whedon. Kristen Connolly, Chris Hemsworth, Anna Hutchison, Fran Kranz, and Jesse Williams portray 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.
Goddard and Whedon, having worked together previously on Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Angel, wrote the screenplay in three days, describing it as an attempt to "revitalize" the slasher film genre and a critical satire on torture porn. Filming took place from March to May 2009 on an estimated budget of $30 million, and was shot in Vancouver, British Columbia. More than 60 artists worked on the effects before filming began.
The Cabin in the Woods premiered on March 9, 2012 at the South by Southwest film festival in Austin, Texas and was released in the United States on April 13, 2012. The film was both a critical and financial success, receiving positive reviews, and featured on Metacritics best films of 2012 list. The Cabin in the Woods went on to gross over $65 million worldwide.
Five friends go for a vacation weekend at a remote cabin, each closely resembling the stereotypical victims of a horror film, Marty a permanently stoned joker, Curt an athletic bad boy, Holden studious and Dana seemingly virginal although it is revealed she has recently ended an affair with her teacher. To Dana's puzzlement the fifth friend, Jules, exhibits increasingly bimboish behaviour, dyeing her hair blonde, appearing promiscuous and dropping her plans to study to be a doctor. They are observed by a secret organisation which is manipulating them but whose members speak of the responsibility of saving the world rather than taking any delight in their activities. As they drive to the cabin Marty voices the opinion that society has become corrupt and needs to come crashing down before being rebuilt once more. After they have an unpleasant encounter with the owner of a rundown gas station he notifies the organisation of their progress, the technicians referring to him as the 'Harbringer' and mocking his devotion to the 'Ancient Ones'. The friends arrive at the cabin and are manipulated through drugs and subliminal messages into the cellar which is filled with curious objects. The various members of the organisation bet on which they will choose and in the end the friends decide on the diary of Patience Buckner, the daughter of a family of serial killer hillbillies. Holden reads a Latin inscription in the diary ressurecting the zombified Buckners who attack and decapitate Jules whilst she and Curt are having sex in the woods. Marty is dragged off and presumed killed whilst the others attempt to flee but find the road blocked by a landslide, Curt killed by an energy barrier when he attempts to jump a chasm on his motorbike in order to fetch help. With each death the organisation perform a blood ritual but are growing increasingly frantic as 'failures' are reported all over the world including a group of young Japanese schoolgirls whom they witness defeating an evil spirit. Holden is also killed by the Buckners but Dana is saved by Marty who has survived partly because his marijuana use counters the effects of the organisation's brainwashing and leads her to an underground bunker he has discovered filled with various imprisoned supernatural monsters. Whilst the organisation's staff celebrate with relief, stating they have saved the world, Dana deduces that each of the monsters is linked to one of the objects in the basement and that the friends were influenced into selecting one thus choosing the manner of their deaths. Discovered and pursued by the organisation's security team Dana and Marty release the monsters who proceed to battle the staff. Marty and Dana encounter the organisation's commander, The Director, who tells them they were intended to be sacrifices to a race of ancient Hellgods who will otherwise awaken in order to destroy mankind. The friends constituted the five types of offerings the Hellgod's demand in North America, The Fool (Marty), The Scholar (Holden), The Whore (Jules), The Athlete (Curt) and The Virgin (Dana)-The Whore destined to die first and The Virgin last or possibly surviving. The sacrifices all over the world have triumphed over the monsters sent to kill them but the Hellgods can still be appeased if Marty is killed before sunrise. Whilst Dana decides whether to kill him or not the trio are attacked by a werewolf and Patience Buckner, killing The Director. Marty and Dana survive and decide against appeasing the Hellgods, reasoning it is better to plunge mankind into a war against the Hellgods which it might not win rather than continue with the sacrifices. The film ends with a huge demonic hand emerging from the ground and crushing the cabin.
Recurring Whedon ThemesEdit
Small group of misfits taking on overwhelming odds and defeating them-Marty and Dana defeat both the monsters dispatched to kill them and the organisation which sent them.
Reversal of horror stereotypes-the supposed Virgin Dana is not actually a virgin whilst the supposed Whore Jules is actually intelligent and not promiscuous. The organisation are not evil but are arguably saving humanity.
Mass escape of imprisoned creatures-the release of the supernatural creatures who battle against their captors.
Cataclysmic disaster as the result of a difficult moral choice-the release of the Hellgods plunging mankind into an apocalyptic war.
Grand conspiracies brought down by seemingly powerless individuals-Marty, Dana and the other sacrifices such as the Japanese schoolgirls defeat the evils sent to destroy them.
Humans overcoming the supernatural through traits such as learning, adaptability and resourcefulness-the sacrifices defeating the evil partly through what they have learned from horror films.
An existing order destroyed for the greater good-Marty and Dana decide to risk a massive war rather than continue the sacrifices.
- Amy Acker who plays Lin was previously Fred on Angel and Dr Saunders/Whiskey in Dollhouse
- Tom Lenk who plays Ronald the Intern was Andrew Wells in Buffy
- Fran Kanz who plays Marty was Topher Brink in Dollhouse
- Sigourney Weaver who plays The Director was previously Ripley in Alien; Ressurection