A Santa Monica writer is suing Joss Whedon, Drew Goddard and Lionsgate Films for supposedly stealing the story for their movie The Cabin In The Woods from his self-published novel.

The writer, Peter Gallagher, claims that Whedon and Goddard copied the plot of his novel, The Little White Trip: A Night In The Pines. In both the 2006 novel and the 2012 film, five young friends head out to a cabin (in the woods? the pines?) and fall into creepy situations at the hands of unseen forces. But it's not just the plot — Gallagher alleges that the Lionsgate film also used similar character names and personalities as the ones in his book. 

Gallagher's argument is almost convincing — except that The Cabin in the Woods is, well, a satire. Whedon's team took a stab at horror movies by creating one that was jam-packed with all the horror movie tropes they could find. Did they steal characters from Gallagher's book? When those characters are found in practically every scary movie, it's hard to say. 

It might be difficult to prove Whedon specifically stole Gallagher's intellectual property — although technically, it is plausible that Whedon stumbled upon Gallagher's book at some point when he lived in Santa Monica. 

(via AV Club)