Drew Goddard turns genre tropes on their heads in The Cabin in the Woods
You might feel like you’ve seen this one before. A mixed bag of tight-bodies and quick-witted teenagers make their way to a secluded cabin in the middle of nowhere, where naturally no one will ever hear their screams for help when they inevitably get sliced up into little bits. The Cabin in the Woods may look like that movie, and on some levels, it is, but on other levels, sometimes otherworldly levels, it most certainly is not.
"We just love horror movies and this just stemmed from that love," director and co-writer Drew Goddard tells me just a few hours before the Canadian premiere of his first feature. "We both just wanted to write a love letter to this genre."
The "we" Goddard is referring to is himself and a man he refers to as his "partner in crime," Joss Whedon. Goddard first met Whedon on the cult classic series Buffy and the Vampire Slayer and went on to work with him on spin-off Angel as well. "We just enjoy working together and we always talked after those shows went off the air about finding something else to do."
Working with Whedon again was old hat for Goddard. "We like to write fast. A lot of times when you don’t have a parachute, you leap into some very interesting places. So we locked ourselves in a hotel and didn’t leave until we had a script." When I suggest that a cabin, say, in the woods might have been more apt, Goddard replies, "I feel like we didn’t need to do any method writing."
What sets The Cabin in the Woods apart from the torture porn one might expect from the premise is the action behind the scenes. These teens, led by Chris Hemsworth and Kristen Connolly, are being chased and tormented, but by whom and for what purpose? There is a genuine reason this is all happening, something that has been sorely lacking from the horror genre for some time now. "It felt like the studios were just recycling, and whenever the recycling starts to happen, that’s when you want to do something new," Goddard explains of his motivation. "You can feel when there is no love behind them. When people making the film don’t care, it bleeds into the audience."
No matter how bloody The Cabin in the Woods gets, you can always feel the love.
The Cabin in the Woods