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]

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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