Experience ‘The Cabin in the Woods’ this Weekend

Experience The Cabin in the Woods this Weekend

by Jason Harris

It has been two years since the little mutant in the Mutant Enemy logo graced a screen, the small screen. It’s back and it’s on the big screen, which is great to see. From the moment The Cabin in the Woods starts, it doesn’t begin like a typical horror movie with the introduction of the potential victims the protagonists.

This movie begins like it does because it is written by Joss Whedon, creator of the television series Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Angel, Dollhouse, and Firefly and Drew Goddard, who wrote for both Buffy and Angel. They threw out the rule book because they don’t follow the rules. They want to be original. Whedon and Goddard fans know this.

The movie starts with Richard Jenkins (Six Feet Under) and Bradley Whitford (The West Wing) in an underground location just having a conversation about consequences and a certain “scenario.” They could be two business men or friends just talking until Whedon alum Amy Acker (Angel, Dollhouse) shows up in her lab coat. I think Acker has kept the same wardrobe from her days on Angel and Dollhouse. The audience has no clue what is going on. After Acker appears on screen, it opens up numerous possibilities that these three characters are working at a research lab, at a government agency, or any other possibility that could cross a person’s mind. This question is eventually answered.

Fran Kraz (Dollhouse), another Whedon alum, portrays drug smoking Marty. He is smoking an interesting bong when he first arrives on the scene. He is the funniest character in the movie and is one of the five friends who go on vacation together. Marty and the other friends, who are portrayed by Kristen Connolly (As the World Turns), Chris Hemsworth (2009s Star Trek), Anna Hutchison (Wild Boys), and Jesse Williams (Grey’s Anamony), are introduced after the interesting set-up of the introduction of the movie’s title.

The other known face in the movie is Hemsworth who audiences will know as the title character in Thor. He will be back in theaters in May when Whedon’s The Avengers come out. He was filming this movie in 2009 when he received the title role in Kenneth Branagh’s Thor.

Tom Lenk (Buffy, Angel), another Whedon alum, makes an appearance in the movie playing a minor character, Ronald the Intern.

Just like any horror movie, you will start liking these characters and wish they could all survive, but you know that won’t happen. This is a horror movie after all and when you start out with five characters, you know that most of them will be dead by the end of the movie.

The movie has many great moments in it. There is one scene where all these monsters are locked up then get freed. There are recognizable monsters like the Wolfman, a giant cobra and this evil looking Transformer-type with multiple sawblades. When these monsters break free and people began to die, it is reminiscent of the Buffy episode, “Primeval,” where all hell breaks loose in the Initiative. This is the one scene in the movie that will require multiple viewings just to see every single creature causing mayhem.

If you like Joss Whedon’s Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Angel, you will love The Cabin in the Woods. It is filled with his style of humor and horror mixed together in one entertaining movie. This review is vague so it won’t ruin the movie for you and because one of the joys of this movie is experiencing it for the first time. Just sit back and enjoy the ride Whedon and Goddard take you on.

Two Actors Leave the Forest to Discuss ‘The Cabin in the Woods’

Two Actors Leave the Woods to Discuss The Cabin in the Woods

by Jason Harris

Actors Kristen Connolly and Fran Krantz. Photo by Jason Harris.

Kristen Connolly and Fran Krantz, two of the stars of The Cabin in the Woods, recently sat down in a Boston hotel to discuss their movie, which opens in theaters on Friday.

The movie was written by Joss Whedon and Drew Goddard and directed by Goddard.

Krantz thought the script was “perfect” while Connolly was “surprised” by it.

“I was blown away when I first read it,” Krantz said. “I worked with Joss so I expected it to be more than what the title suggested.”

He never could have predicted in his “wildest imagination” where this movie was going.

The Cabin in the Woods movie poster. Photo by Jason Harris.

“The poster says, you think you know the story, but it couldn’t be more accurate,” Krantz said.

As Connolly was reading the script, it was hard for her to picture some parts including the scene where her character is getting the crap beat out of her, she said. But in the finish product, the music in that scene is “really amazing.”

Krantz felt such a strong connection to the script and felt an “ownership” to it, which he considers “rare in an actor.”

“It was difficult if I didn’t get it, it was going to haunt me for the rest of my life because I loved the movie so much on paper.”

Even though the movie was shot in 2009, Krantz never lost faith that it would see the inside of a movie theater even though other people didn’t think it would.

“I knew how good the movie was,” Krantz said. “I was always confident that it would come out. It’s satisfying now that you can already feel the buzz around it.”

Connolly said, “it was cool to watch [the movie] at South by Southwest. It was so crazy, it was like a rock show. There was cheering and laughing. It was so cool that there was so much energy in that room. It was a truly extraordinary experience.”

Both Connolly and Krantz auditioned for their parts in the movie. At the time, Krantz was working on Whedon’s newest television series, but that didn’t give him a leg up on anyone else.

“I auditioned like any other movie, which was weird since I was working on Dollhouse,” Krantz said.

When Goddard visited the set to talk over possible shooting locations with Whedon before Krantz even got a call about auditioning for a part, he walked over to where they were talking.

“I’m a big horror film fan so I just kind of wandered over. I wanted to see what they were talking about. They were looking at potential lakes for potential shooting locations.”

Krantz said, one of those locations was “the original Friday the 13th Camp Crystal Lake.”

“I started geeking out,” Krantz said. “I was a big fan of those movies.”

He told them it would be so cool if they would film the movie there, but the movie ended up being filmed in Vancouver.

Krantz and Connolly had good things to say about some of their co-stars.

“I think Richard [Jenkins] and Bradley’s [Whitford] performances are so funny,” Connolly said.

Krantz thought everyone on the movie brought their “’A’ game.”

Krantz said, “the performances are so great across the board.”

During filming, he saw the dailies of co-star Chris Hemsworth and thought he was “a movie star.” Hemsworth received his role in Thor and the Red Dawn remake while filming The Cabin in the Woods. Chris’ younger brother, Liam, was considered for the role of Thor first before it went to Chris, Krantz said.

“I know Joss called Kenneth Branagh and at some point it started shifting gears in his direction,” Krantz said. “I was not surprised at all.”

Connolly thought it was a great break and a “no brainer” that Hemsworth received the role of Thor.

The Cabin in the Woods is full of scares and fears. Everything a person can be afraid of is in the movie, Connolly said.

“I think what I feel most afraid of is drowning or being buried alive.”

She mentioned a particular scene in the movie where she is in a pond. She also found it hard to watch the scene in Kill Bill:Vol. 2, where Uma Thurman’s character is buried alive.

“I have to get up and leave the room because [that scene] is so intense,” Connolly said about Kill Bill.

The fear that bothers Krantz is “claustrophobia.”

The Descent killed me because of that. The monsters were scary, but I was far more uncomfortable with the earlier tight space moments.”

You can travel tomorrow to see what fears The Cabin in the Woods contains when it opens in theaters nationwide.