DIRECTOR: Jeremy Benson
WRITER: Jeremy Benson
Juliet Reeves London
Grace and her boyfriend Jim are heading on a road trip to the Smoky Mountains. After a tragic accident involving Jim happens. Grace is left alone and lost in the mountains. As the days turn into nights, Grace must try and fend for herself and fight for her own survival in the harsh wilderness. Not only will she have the environment and elements to deal with but she will also need to battle her own personal demons.
Girl In Woods is a movie that starts out rather well. The film begins by giving us a few hints into our main characters psyche as well as her horrible nightmares. We witness her repeatedly dream of her boyfriend Jim dying by way of suicide. A scene featuring Jim in the car where blood begins to pour from his eyes, nose, mouth and head is the standout scene in this movie. When the scene happens, it is incredibly unnerving, and I expected a few more scenes of this nature to hit me throughout the film.
Once our happy couple get out on the road and finally get to their destination. This is where the film begins to slowly fall apart. For the next hour and fifteen minutes. The movie descends slowly into madness with our main protagonist's mental state getting the most significant workout. It's these scenes of her panicked, talking to herself and our main character walking through the woods where things became tiring. There are only so many times that I can stand to witness these scenes over and over again.
Among the scenes that I mentioned above. The movie at times plays like a monster movie. We believe that Grace may not be the only one who inhabits this vast forest. We hear and see things. We get glimpses of a dark, menacing figure who is following Grace. I thought the payoff for this monster element was quite amusing. The use of the split personality worked once it's later revealed. For that, I believe that Girl In Woods deserves itself a point for that alone.
Also thrown into the second act of the film. We have a few flashback scenes that end up revealing Grace's childhood trauma of losing her parents to suicide. I found these scenes to be quite well done. They add an almost supernatural quality to the film in the way they are shot. These few short scenes highlight and are clear triggers that give way to the film's final few minutes and twist before the credits begin to roll. I think these scenes will be the scariest moments in the film for people.
The third act and final few minutes are where the film picks up the pace and reveals a rather impressive and nasty little end for the film. I actually found the reveal of Grace battling her inner demons and being the monster all along by way of descending into a primitive woman who just can't take the latest tragic event and she just snaps was quite a clever ending for Girl In Woods. It adds another dynamic to this film. It makes up for the slowly paced middle section of the film.
Regarding cinematography, I doubt Girl In Woods will win any awards. This movie is pretty much entirely set in the wilderness. While a blood-soaked woman showering in a waterfall is cool in theory, it was far better looking in the brilliant Byzantium. Girl In Woods is a micro-budget movie so budget constraints will probably have had them shooting this thing guerilla style. The visuals that worked are the nightmare scenes and the flashbacks.
When it comes to scares and tension. I found Girl In Woods to be severely lacking. The movie has a few unnerving visual effects early on in the film, the movie really isn't all that scary or suspenseful. The movie was quite slow through a vast majority of its middle section. The film could've benefitted from a few more scares if I don't say so myself. While I think jump scares are an easy way to get people to jump, I think this may have added some thrills to this movie.
Lastly, the acting was pretty good. Jeremy London wasn't in it long enough to make a lasting impression. I think his early scene in the car involving his demise was pretty horrific. Charisma Carpenter was decent in her menacing mother role. I thought she did a great job in the film. Julie Reeves London as Grace is the standout. The movie rests entirely on her shoulders, and while some of her scenes come off as cheesy, her descent into a primitive woman was decent for the most part.
DEATH TOLL: 5
BLOOD AND GORE:
- Someone shoots themselves in the head.
- Someone is shot in the head.
- A woman is covered in blood (holds animals heart).
- Someone falls hands first onto a spiked branch.
- A bloody corpse in a bathtub.
- Someone smashes their hand with a rock.
- Someone is stabbed in the throat with a sharp stick.
- A man is shot in the chin.
- Another person is stabbed in the stomach with a sharp stick.
- Head bashed in with a rock.
While I didn't exactly enjoy Girl In Woods, I think the movie has a few very exciting and bright ideas that deserve the movie at least a once off watch. The movie has an exciting premise that deals with the psychological breakdown of a young woman that also has a pretty smart payoff. The film, however, falls just short due to a couple of cheesy moments in the acting, a lack of suspense and it's monotonous pacing. Had they thrown in a few more scares, this might have gotten a higher score with me.