The Cabin in the Woods

By Christopher Redmond

Mailed on April 13, 2012

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Dear Jordu Schell
Conceptual Creature Designer

Dear Jordu,

You are the only person involved in this film that I will give a free pass. You aren't paid to question the writer's motivations or the director's vision. After reading this script, you just knew it was a portfolio jackpot and never looked back, right? Well, you're lucky.

I stepped out of the theater with question after unresolvable question popping up in my head. This wasn't' the satisfying puzzlement that cleverly ambiguous or intellectually intriguing films inspire, but simple bafflement at how the entire premise was so thinly strung together. It's a first-class case of half-baked ideas buried under a steaming pile of over-indulgence.

I expect a lot more from co-writer and producer Joss Wheland in particular, a respected leader in modern geek culture. But this comedy/horror/sci-fi/fantasy mash-up makes its genres strangely cancel out their individual effectiveness (O Edgar Wright, where art thou?). The result is a film that aims at post-modern pastiche and ends up feeling like mindless pandering to a very specific fan base. Perhaps director Drew Goddard thought your creations, made with love and care, would be so good that people would simply turn off their brains to a concept so severely flawed it should never exist in the first place. Unfortunately, your efforts could only suspend my disappointment until the final credit role, where I was left stupefied by your collaborators.

In order to respect the project, I'm trying to avoid spoiler territory, in case someone intercepts our correspondence (imagine!). But I will say that Fran Kranz's burnout character was so cliche (no, not in a clever "that's the point" way, sorry) and painstakingly favoured in the script that it undermined any chance the film had at finding a soul. And I won't even start on Richard Jenkin's "dude" dialogue that an actor half his age would still have problems choking out. It's what happens when you can't decide if you want to be a film, or be an experimental fan-fiction-masturbation about films.

For me, "too much wasted effort" was the overall theme of the film, laboring simple ideas to the point of unintelligible exhaustion. Be smart - next time someone invites you to a cabin in the woods, run.

With only mild creature comforts,


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