The Daily Grind Video

Why do we feel compelled to destroy and torture youth? Apparently, this is one of the messages, among the many, that first time Director Drew Goddard (Lost, Cloverfield) and co-writer and partner in crime, Joss Whedon (Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Firefly, Dollhouse) had in mind when they decided to let their imaginations roar and scramble viewers heads in their movie “Cabin in the Woods.”

For the better part of 3 years the movie, shot in 2009, did seem as lost as an abandoned cabin in the woods and now that it has finally been released, the timing seems most curious and even auspicious.  For instance, most of its young stars are actually making it in the acting world in 2012.  Chris Hemsworth is Thor, Jesse Williams is a lead in Grey’s Anatomy, Fran Kranz is on a prestigious production on Broadway, Kirsten Connolly is staring in David Fincher’s House of Cards and Sigourney Weaver is still a Goddess… and not to mention that Whedon has his big movie “The Avengers” opening a few months down the road.

Back in January while at Sundance, when I first met Jesse Williams, he did mention this movie to me and was excited about how different it was….and boy did he not lie about that… Forget everything that Scream and or Saw may have made you think about horror or slasher films.  This is definitely not your average horror slasher film even if it uses all of the horror stereotypes out there and turns them on their head…sort of.

“Cabin in the Woods” is definitely scary…but loco scary…and a study in what not to expect when you are expecting horror and blood.  Having five young adults attacked in the woods was not enough for the team behind this movie.  “”I love horror”, explains Whedon, “But the plots are becoming more and more predictable.  The killings are more and more disgusting.  The kids are becoming more and more expendable.  And more love is put into the instruments of torture and no love at all is put into the dialogue polish.”  Clearly inspired to make a difference, Whedon took care of this and then some.   And what about the theme about destroying and torturing youth?

An extremely engaging and loquacious Fran Kranz is more than happy to address this question.  “There is a jealousy I guess in human beings to want that and envy that and find a way to punish youth for having it…when we go through life slowly losing it. I think its sort of a macabre idea…and the movie has a lot of fun with that…puts it out there.”

And for an actor who has worked with Whedon before and who has a career that seems destined for greatness of one sort or another, Kranz was right at home in his element when offered the role of the stoner in a horror flick and is thrilled to be part of it.  “I loved the script so much when I got it”, Kranz is quick to share. “I was blown away…I thought it was one of the best scripts I read…it’s up my alley you know…I’m a horror film fan…I’ve worked with Joss before…so I kind of had an idea of what to expect and it still far exceeded my expectations.”  

But like they say in Spanish and since we are talking about horror…which is never too far from evil…, “no es lo mismo llamar al diablo que verlo venir” (which in English kind of means, “it’s not the same to call the devil than to see him approaching…”).  

So how was it to watch “Cabin in the Woods” for the very first time, I ask Fran.  “When I first saw it I was nervous…I was alone in a room with Bradley Whitford…and it was just the two of us and that is a weird way to see a movie…especially a movie like this…you want people around to react …we just sat there in silence watching this crazy movie.  Finally toward the end he turned over to me and said “we are in the best movie ever made”…he said with a laugh.  Apparently, a lot of other people seem to agree.  The movie has metascore of 72 and rotten tomatoes shows a fresh and healthy 91% in its tomatometer.

And is it odd but great to star in a unique and logic defying horror-slasher film  (granted, not the most distinguished genre) while also staring in the much reviewed Broadway play “Death of a Salesman” directed by no other than the legendary Mike Nichols?  Huge, right?

Kranz is really proud that the two characters could not be more different.  Boy, he is not kidding.    But in his own self-deprecating style, he calls them both a great showcase of versatility and believes they are both legitimately good.  And frankly, he is correct.  Critics everywhere seem to love Fran…either when he is playing a stoner about to get wacked…or the successful and powerful lawyer Bernard in the Death of a Salesman revival.  Talented, good looking, funny and smart, what’s not to love about Fran Kranz????  

-Jennice Fuentes