“A group of five friends going on a quiet cabin retreat scratch the surface of something so massive and horrific that they can only begin to fathom what might possibly be going on just as time quickly runs out.” So goes the frustratingly opaque description of The Cabin in the Woods, the long-anticipated horror film directed by Drew Goddard (Alias, Cloverfield) and co-written by Goddard and Buffy the Vampire Slayer‘s Joss Whedon. The teaser poster for the film, released last week, suggests a new take on the cabin-in-ruralia-psycho-killer genre, and today’s trailer, too, is promising: it appears that in a market suffocated by a glut of unoriginal horror fare, Cabin in the Woods offers something different.
The trailer suggests nudge-nudge references to genre clichés—why yes, that is The Naked and Famous‘ “Young Blood” at the beginning, scoring the carefree-road-trip montage; there’s an incredulous nod to the horror-movie practice of splitting up the characters; and we do appreciate one of the kids acknowledging the existence of GPS, even if just to explain that their cabin can’t be located on it. But it doesn’t devolve into tiresome Scream-level meta-analysis, where the whole point of the movie is to make a commentary on horror movies. And then there are all kinds of Lost-ian touches—a shot of some kind of control room where the kids are being watched, for one thing; and what seems to be an invisible force field that totally decimates an eagle, for another. (Some more familiar pleasures—like a Chris Hemsworth makeout scene—would appear to be on offer, as well.)
“You think you know the story,” taunts a title card—but nothing would make us happier than finding out that in this instance, we’re totally unprepared for what’s in store.