The Cabin in the Woodsis a 2012 American horror film directed and co-written by Drew Goddard and co-written and produced by Joss Whedon . It stars Kristen Connolly , Fran Kranz , Chris Hemsworth , Jesse Williams , Anna Hutchison , Bradley Whitford , and Richard Jenkins . The film was released on April 13, 2012.
Two technicians in a sophisticated industrial facility—Richard Sitterson ( Richard Jenkins ) and Steve Hadley ( Bradley Whitford )—are getting ready for an unknown operation, one of several taking place around the world.
Meanwhile, five college students—Dana ( Kristen Connolly ), Curt ( Chris Hemsworth ), Jules ( Anna Hutchison ), Marty ( Fran Kranz ), and Holden ( Jesse Williams )—drive out for a vacation to a remote cabin in the woods, while the technicians keep an eye on the students with hidden cameras. Through the cabin's design, the use of sophisticated environmental controls and the release of mood-altering drugs into the air, the technicians manipulate the environment into one resembling a fairly common horror archetype, a point which is made several times in the film itself. These changes generally reduce the students' intelligence, while enhancing sexual libido and lack of caution.
At the cabin, the friends settle in while the observing technicians place bets on which horror scenario the students will unwittingly select. Once the students enter the basement, they discover a number of artifacts, each of which hints at its own sub-genre of horror , ranging from a sphere which is reminiscent of Lemarchand's box from theHellraiserseries to a scarab -like pendant. Dana reads an incantation from an old diary, which is the trigger for a scenario involving a family of Redneck Torture zombies which rise from the grave outside, though the students remain unaware of the danger they have released.
Curt and Jules go outside to have sex. Zombies attack the lovers and Jules is killed. Meanwhile, in the cabin, Marty becomes paranoid and his fears are confirmed when he finds a surveillance camera in his room. Before he can act, he is attacked through the window by one of the zombies and pulled out, and after a brief struggle, he is dragged off. Holden, Dana, and Curt flee in their RV and get as far as a long mountain tunnel, but their escape is thwarted when the technicians blow it up. While trying alternate routes of escape, Curt and Holden are killed. Curt's death reveals to Dana that something is unusual about the environment, and she becomes convinced that Marty's worries about the environment being controlled were correct.
The technicians drink in celebration that they have completed the "ritual," while the screens in the background show Dana fighting for her life against the zombies. The party stops when a phone call from "downstairs" informs them that Marty is still alive, just as he appears and rescues Dana. Marty, having survived his encounter with the zombies, came across a hidden control box near the cabin from which he was able to access an elevator with glass walls. He and Dana take it down to the facility where the technicians are, and as they do so, they pass by a large number of horror genre monsters, each in their own glass cage. Dana and Marty escape the elevator, but are cornered by a security team. To escape, they release the monsters in all the pods, who start killing everyone in the facility.
Further under the facility, Dana and Marty find a large crypt, which Hadley referred to as "The Temple" earlier in the film, with strange tablets and meet the "Director" ( Sigourney Weaver ). She tells them the reason for the ritual is to appease beings called "Ancient Ones" or "old gods" who live beneath the facility and are kept in perpetual slumber through an annual, ritual sacrifice of five young people who comprise certain archetypes—the Whore (Jules), the Athlete (Curt), the Scholar (Holden), the Fool (Marty), and the Virgin (Dana). All must die in an archetypical order, until only the Virgin remains. Should the Ancient Ones awake, the students are told, they will rise and destroy the world. As the other rituals taking place around the world have failed, the Director urges Dana to kill Marty before sunrise to complete the ritual and save all of humanity. When Dana hesitates, a struggle ensues and Marty knocks both the Director and an attacking zombie off the platform and into the abode of the Ancient Ones below.
Marty sits and comforts Dana, who has been injured by a werewolf , while smoking a joint and remarking that it might be better for another species to take humanity's place if this is the price of its continued existence. Morning comes and Marty and Dana hold each other as the gigantic hand of an Ancient One rises up through the earth, destroying the facility and the cabin.