Reviewed by: Andre Manseau
What's it about
The year is 1965, and Heather has been sent to an all-girl school by her less-than-wealthy father. She only has one fiery-haired friend, and all of the teachers seem to be out to get her. However, students start to disappear and something is not right with the school and the woods that surround it.
Is it good movie?
I have heard a lot about this movie, and have been waiting anxiously to see it for quite some time, and there are two reasons for this. The first reason is Lucky McKee, the man who brought us May, which was simply fantastic and wonderfully demented. The second reason is because Bruce Campbell's in it! I can't help it, i'm a big Campbell mark, always have been. On top of this stuff, this movie's been mad hyped, everywhere I read. Does it live up to the hype?
The flick is a decent mild drama, but isn't much of a horror movie. Here's what's great about it. First of all, the acting in this flick is absolutely solid. I give big ups to Heather, played by Agnes Bruckner, who absolutely anchors this flick and totally sold me on her character. She's young, she's scared, but she isn't stupid and is a completely believable character.
Another great thing about the movie is the production, the flick had a decent budget, and Mckee makes great use of lighting, atmosphere and sound to craft a very nice, sensual treat for the viewer.
And the not so good? Well, here's the thing. While I thought the plotline was fairly original for today's day and age, I thought it borrowed heavily from older movies of the same sort of craft, Argento's stuff, and even a debt to Evil Dead can be found. And while things move along at a steady enough pace, my biggest problem with this one is that it just ends up being sort of predictable. Everything is wrapped up in such a quick, precise little package in the final minutes, that the viewer is left feeling a little let down (at least this viewer was). Don't get me wrong, the ending is when the volume gets turned way up, but its like the whole film just builds up to it, and just like Arrow said in his review, there just wasn't enough 'meat' to sustain the entire flick. Also, not nearly enough Bruce Campbell.
Video / Audio
Our widescreen image is a bit distorted at times, in a dark movie. it can get a little grainy and isn't perfect.
The sound transfer is great though, a pristine 5.1 mix that will rock your speakers, quite a treat.
No commentary, no EPK, no cast interviews, no deleted scenes, absolutely nothing. Zilch.
The Woods was an enjoyable throwback to an older type of flick that is very well directed and acted. It doesn't deserve all of the press it's getting, but that doesn't make it a bad film. It's a little cliché's at times and doesn't pay off like i'd expected it to, but if you'd never heard any of the hype, you'd probably be impressed. However, if you had been hyped up like I was, well, you might want to avoid these woods.