Josh Wilding Reviews: THE CABIN IN THE WOODS: THE OFFICIAL VISUAL COMPANION

Drew Goddard and Joss Whedon’s refreshing take on the horror genre has been met with almost unanimous praise, but is it worth buying the official visual companion? Hit the jump for my review of a copy sent to us by our friends at Titan Books. [Minor Spoilers Ahead]

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By Josh Wilding - 4/23/2012

Official companions for films tend to vary significantly when it comes to quality. Some are so in-depth, they become a bore; others are nothing more than glorified photo albums. Thankfully, The Cabin in the Woods: The Official Visual Companion gets it just right. The book kicks off with a lengthy 34 page interview with director/co-writer Drew Goddard and producer/co-writer Joss Whedon, and this proves to be a fascinating read. The Q&A takes us right from how the duo came up with the idea to pre-production, location scouting, filming, post-production and much, much more. There are some really interesting titbits of information in here, including choosing the cast members and deciding which of them would direct. We hear from Goddard on the challenges of being a first time director, while Whedon also talks in detail about taking on the responsibilities of being a producer. The book also reveals how they came to choose the title, various creatures and that ending. Although the answers to their questions are presented together, it does sometimes feels as if they weren’t actually in each other’s company, but this is only a little distracting and does nothing to diminish just how interesting they are. Interviewer Abbie Bernstein deserves a great deal of credit for here insightful and revealing questions.

The Cabin in the Woods’ screenplay is then presented in its entirety. If you have absolutely no interest in reading this sort of thing, you may want to knock a star off the score below. However, it makes for an interesting read and those who really loved the film are sure to appreciate it. This part of the book also includes brief interviews with all of the main cast members and a lot of details from production designer Martin Whist on the look of everything from the gas station to the control room, cabin and every other major location. Both this section and the Q&A include literally hundreds of images, mostly fantastic behind-the-scenes stills and images from the film as well as storyboards and blueprints. The third part of The Cabin in the Woods: The Official Visual Companion features a brief “Making the Monsters” interview with AFX Studios’s David LeRoy Anderson and Heather Langenkamp Anderson. We’re then treated to dozens of gory images of the various creatures who are a part of the climatic 20 minutes or so of the film as well as some insightful comments into their design and creation. If anything, this part of the book could have done with being a little longer, but that’s a minor complaint. The whole thing is bookmarked with a foreword by Drew Goddard and an afterward from Joss Whedon.

Regardless of how much you enjoyed the movie, you’re sure to find something to love in The Cabin in the Woods: The Official Visual Companion. With an incredibly reasonable RRP of $19.95/£17.99, there is absolutely no reason why you shouldn’t go out and buy this right now.



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39 Comments
lxgnzls1 - 4/23/2012, 8:44 AM
this movie sucked!!!!! a unicorn really? the writer of the praise must have also been smoking some of the green stuff in the movie
redsoxdude - 4/23/2012, 8:48 AM
This is the second time i have heard praise about this movie today
lxgnzls is also the second person today to say it sucked.

I really have no idea what to think now. 50/50 seems to routine today.
LAXtremest - 4/23/2012, 8:56 AM
I thought this movie was awesome. It's one of most original stories to come out in a long time. It kind of makes a mockery of your standard horror film formula. Brilliant, IMO. It's a 93 on Rotten Tomatoes if that gives you some reference.
HelaGood - 4/23/2012, 9:07 AM
i agree with lxgnzls1 !! the movie was terrible and soooooooooo overrated!
HelaGood - 4/23/2012, 9:09 AM
@LAXtremest original? ive seen all of that before on Buffy the Vampire Slayer. but on Buffy, it was done so much better AND was funnier.
JoshWilding - 4/23/2012, 9:14 AM
I didn't love the movie as much as some (you can find my review HERE) but this book was fantastic. Highly recommend it guys.
GiantNerd - 4/23/2012, 9:17 AM
This movie is an expression of its creators and why they love horror and also why they find most of the horror field to be the same recycled crap. I [frick]ing absolutely love this movie.
TucsonRican - 4/23/2012, 9:27 AM
I thought it was great too.

Interesting thing I find is that the original Nancy from A Nightmare on Elm Street did the make-up and monsters...
RorMachine - 4/23/2012, 9:28 AM
It was a great movie. I understand it wasn't to everyone's tastes at the same time, but those complaining about the sillier elements like unicorns etc have just about completely missed the entire point.

marvel72 - 4/23/2012, 9:29 AM
i thought it was a very good movie,i'd score it 4/5.

this & chronicle are my two favorite films of the year,so far.
ThreeBigTacos - 4/23/2012, 9:35 AM
I pretty much agree with RorMachine. It seems a lot of people have missed the point...
ElDarkside - 4/23/2012, 9:40 AM
i have to say that i enjoyed the first half of this movie as it had a great concept that just went off the deep end for the ending. Thinking about how they ended it, and no i'm not talking about SPOILER SPOILER SPOILER.....................................the world ending........................I'm talking about the part where somehow a stoner with the IQ of my dog could figure out how to operate an elevator to hell...Thats a WTF moment if i ever saw one... THen the gorfest that ensued and Sigorny Weaver(WTF???) is licufer, or Hell's gatekeeper. The thrid act sucked.... Made this movie bad
HelaGood - 4/23/2012, 9:43 AM
i went because i love joss whedon. love his sense of humor and way he tells a story. but this was more goddard than whedon. and not in a good way. im not really one to go by reviews, but in this case they were misleading. for example:

"meticulous buildup leads to a hugely satisfying payoff." - no buildup, they unzipped at the very beginning of the film. and what "payoff"?

and when i saw it, we were in a packed theater in L.A. and apart from people laughing at the unicorn scene, i wouldve thought i was the only one in the theater. not a peep from anyone the whole time.


Rodimus9 - 4/23/2012, 9:46 AM
A cabin above a hellmouth? Seen it. Good movie anyways.
Kosiji - 4/23/2012, 9:52 AM
This first half of the film was like the Brady Bunch driving on the road towards a beautiful sunrise & the second half was like they were transported to a Michael Bay chase scene with Transformers. Honestly, Josh is lucky he was given the Avengers because if this was his stand alone film.......
AIGALAN - 4/23/2012, 9:56 AM
The reason I greatly disliked this film is because it was a horrible horror film. Yeah it had a whole bunch of monsters and gore but the whole film played out like a comedy. After hearing all the great reviews I went to check it out at a packed theater. The whole time the only reaction from the audience was laughter. Several comments were heard at the end of the film how it was one of the funniest films people have seen this year so far. I would have enjoyed the film better if I was told ahead of time that it would be a comedy with monster instead of thinking it will actually have any scary moments.
HelaGood - 4/23/2012, 10:13 AM
@jwsmith85 so what were the original ideas in the film?
LAXtremest - 4/23/2012, 10:17 AM
Didn't know all that was already done in Buffy. Sorry pal. But it felt original to me. And if you go in expecting this to play out like a serious horror movie, then like Ror said, you've missed the point. I can understand why people wouldn't like it. I did however.
HelaGood - 4/23/2012, 10:24 AM
@LAXtremest what parts did you think were original? just trying to figure out what everyone else seems to be seeing...
Seejay - 4/23/2012, 10:25 AM

How can some say it sucked when it has 72/100 metacritic.
http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1259521/criticreviews

91 % at RT
http://www.rottentomatoes.com/m/the_cabin_in_the_woods/
HelaGood - 4/23/2012, 10:26 AM
@Seejay have you seen it?
LAXtremest - 4/23/2012, 10:28 AM
@HelaGood- I would love to tell you that, but I don't want to post spoilers on here lol. I'm cool with the fact you didn't like it. Me personally, I've just never seen that type of story played out in a movie. All the different things they encounter was a nice surprise. And the end was pretty intense. Not the end when Sigourney shows herself, but the chaos right before that was nuts.
HelaGood - 4/23/2012, 10:32 AM
@LAXtremest and i respect your opinion. i guess i am still just blown away on how many critics thought this was awesome and original, and yet i failed to see either. thats why im asking everyone what they thought was awesome and original so i can try and see what they saw...
LAXtremest - 4/23/2012, 10:49 AM
Yeah I hear ya. But I think if we were to discuss that, it would be throwing spoilers out there. Different strokes for different folks.
RorMachine - 4/23/2012, 11:29 AM
SPOILERS...

How ISN'T is original is an easier question to answer! Name me one movie you have seen that is anything like it? That plays with genre conventions in such a way? That manages to be funny, clever and gory (I'll concede that it was never actually SCARY)..that has a scene in which a man longing to catch a glimpse of a Merman has his [frick]ing face eaten off by one! And saying "Well, Whedon has a few similar elements in Buffy/Angel etc" doesn't count. No premise is 100% original, every movie takes inspiration and ideas and reuses or adds to them. The point is that in a decade of rehashed, recycled garbage, these guys set out to try something a bit different, and succeeded imo.
thewolfx - 4/23/2012, 11:39 AM
if you cant appreciate a good killer unicorn you must be a lil biotch ...
thetrojan - 4/23/2012, 11:42 AM
it was a good film,the poster is nowhere near a representation of the movie,but i guess they used it because its a good design....
the unicorn and the clown etcetera are meant to be representative of the man made horrors in our mindset.....i thought this was quite an original movie and leaves space for a sequel which will never be made.....its not meant to be made.
HelaGood - 4/23/2012, 11:48 AM
@Ror
granted, as a whole, i haven't seen anything like this. but, the parts all seemed familiar. so arranging them in a puzzle may seem original to those unfamiliar with the Mutant Enemy library, but it didnt to me. no surprises.

but in the respect that it is different from most horror films, especially those 'found footage' documentary films, it is different. not original, but different.
Gutts81 - 4/23/2012, 11:49 AM
I love this movie. Best horror movie i've seen in a long ass time.
HelaGood - 4/23/2012, 11:53 AM
and that makes sense to me... why people like it... because it IS different from other horror films... but i guess i was expecting something other than what i saw.
HelaGood - 4/23/2012, 11:53 AM
i guess i just got hung up on the word "original"
Boogie138 - 4/23/2012, 12:22 PM
@HelaGood: original is a completely subjective term. If your talking about a brand new, never before seen/used idea then absolutely no film is original. Every idea or plot has been taken from other sources, be it book or media, personal experiance or urban legend and so on and so on. everything in art is recyled from something else. if you can think it, some one else probably already has.

original to me is when you take something and make it your own. repurpose an idea or rethink a typical convention. even then you can tred a path already blazed and not even be aware your doing it.

and filmakers taking a second glace at ideas they have used before is nothing new. many filmakers paved a career doing this. and there is nothing wrong with it. but those who remain the same for too long can loose their fan base. then again those who step out of thier comfort zone can was away everything that makes them appealing.

no two people will ever like the same thing for the exact same reason. we all process information differently and apply it differently.
HelaGood - 4/23/2012, 1:10 PM
@Boogie138 well said. and you are probably right, i took the multiple reviewers' use of "original" to mean brand new.

but even though they repurposed material i had seen before in other places, i still didnt like it.

but like you said, we all process information differently. to each his own.
CPBuff22 - 4/23/2012, 3:21 PM
Best movie of the year so far. And lets not drop spoilers in our replies for the sake of those who haven't seen it yet. And for those of you who haven't I would recommend checking out a DBOX screening. Its way cooler than 3D.
HelaGood - 4/23/2012, 3:38 PM
see, to me, Tucker and Dale vs. Evil was a better film.
FiLdo - 4/23/2012, 3:41 PM
I'm happy I ordered the book before ever hearing the reviews. I loved this movie. And people that didn't like it, didn't get it.
HelaGood - 4/23/2012, 3:49 PM
@FiLdo oh i got it...just seen it done better before.
ElDarkside - 4/23/2012, 4:06 PM
Sorry FIldo. I can understand something and still not like it. Like I mentioned above, it was a great concept that in the end did not come to fruition. Maybe I was expecting something more philosophical, not a gorefest. I must be a niave optimist, and I thought it could have ended better; maybe self-sacrifice to save others in lieu of NOTHING...THEY JUST DID NOTHING.

Sorry by the way about the spoliers (I did warn people), but I would prefer to talk to people on here about this movie, since I value their opinion as opposed to some other discussion board.
HelaGood - 4/23/2012, 4:07 PM
@ElDarkside agreed about the spoilers issue.

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