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The Backwoods
DVD disk
Jun 6, 2008 By: Chris Bumbray
The Backwoods order
Director:
Koldo Serra

Actors:
Gary Oldman
Virginie Ledoyen
Paddy Considine

Rating:
Movie:
Extras:
Overall:

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WHAT'S IT ABOUT?
Two English couples (Paddy Considine & Virginie Ledoyen and Gary Oldman & Aitana Sánchez Gijón) go on holiday in the Basque region of Spain. While hunting, the two men discover a young, deformed girl who's been imprisoned in a remote cabin. The two couples attempt to help the girl, but are soon terrorized by local villagers, who think the girl is cursed.

IS IT A GOOD MOVIE?
Sadly, THE BACKWOODS is not a good movie, rather it's a hopelessly mediocre one. I was actually really looking forward to seeing this film, as I'm a big Gary Oldman fan, and I missed it when it played at the FANTASIA film festival last year. The DVD cover sells this as a horror film, but THE BACKWOODS is really more of an old fashioned seventies rural thriller, a la DELIVERANCE & STRAW DOGS.

Unlike those films, THE BACKWOODS is not particularly gripping. It could have been a really cool little film, but it just never really gets going. The film is only slightly over ninety minutes, yet it takes almost an hour for it to get going. Too much time is spent developing Considine & Ledoyen's characters- who are completely self involved and whiny, and do not engage the audience's sympathy at all, which is a big no-no for this type of film. Gary Oldman fares better (and shows off some serious Spanish skills), but despite the DVD cover- which sells him as the star of the film, he's ultimately playing a supporting role, and he's off the screen for long stretches of time.

I also disliked some of the more pretentious moments in the film, such as the heavy handed use of a couple of Leonard Cohen tracks- which seem to imply that the filmmakers are trying to make some grand statement about class warfare, and man's inhumanity to man- blah, blah, blah. In the end, I would have preferred a little less talk, and a lot more action.

THE EXTRAS
Zilch, save for a few previews of upcoming Lionsgate releases.

FINAL DIAGNOSIS
Overall, I did not particularly enjoy THE BACKWOODS. While it wasn't awful, it was still pretty bland and boring. It's a passable time filler, but nothing more.

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