1. The Cabin In The Woods

Director: Drew Goddard
Stars: Kristen Connolly, Chris Hemsworth, Anna Hutchison, Fran Kranz, Jesse Williams, Richard Jenkins, Bradley Whitford, Brian White, Amy Acker

In terms of the horror genre, The Cabin In The Woods goes out of its way to please crowds. Directed by Cloverfield screenwriter/Lost veteran Drew Goddard (who co-wrote the script with Joss Whedon), the SXSW 2012 Film Festival’s opening night flick reconnects with that old meta, self-aware, darkly comedic Scream vibe, though it’s arguably better at pulling off the wink-wink nature than Wes Craven’s slasher classic. Reportedly penned over three days, spent in a hotel room, The Cabin In The Woods represents Goddard’s and Whedon’s passionate fanboy love for scary movies, and, subsequently, it’s catnip for like-minded movie heads.

The set-up is right out of films like The Evil Dead, and intentionally so: Five stereotypical party-seeking college students head off to the titular abode for a weekend of drinks and sex, but, unbeknownst to them, there’s a conspiratorial plot underway, and that’s all we’re going to say here. A major part of Cabin’s enjoyment lies in its constant unspooling of vintage horror movie references, which all lead into one of the grandest payoffs you’re likely to ever see.

The best part of all: Unlike most of the films that screened at SXSW last week, The Cabin In The Woods will actually hit nationwide theaters in the near future—April 13th, to be exact. Mark your calendars and call friends to accompany you with the quickness.