26 December 2014

THE WOODS WITHIN

THE WOODS WITHIN

USA, 2014
Director: Brandon Prewitt

7/10











Die-hard slasher fans who eventually become filmmakers just to produce their very own slasher flicks... well, these people never fail to impress me. Doesn't matter how good or bad their films turn out to be, these people are just admirable because it's them who keep the struggling slasher-genre alive and kicking, at least among indie circles. Brandon Prewitt is another one who tries his best to revive good old 80s slasher awesomeness - and fully succeeds by combining worn out slasher clichés with original and shrewd ideas, somewhere in the vein of new-school slasher filmmakers like Goltz/Sommerfield ("Don't Go to the Reunion") or Rosas/Sommer ("Billy Club").

"The Woods Within" (weird title) follows a few teenagers who spend the night in the woods to have a party before graduation. The next morning, they find one of their friends murdered and soon realize that this is just the beginning of a horrifying race for their lives, because there's a merciless killer lurking in the woods, passionately trying to kill all of them...


If you search for originality, search elsewhere. "The Woods Within" doesn't want to be original, it prefers to tell a well-trodden story about clichéd characters, but in new and unexpected ways with interesting and unforeseeable twists. Prewitt surprisingly doesn't rely on uber-gory and/or super-inventive kills, he spends way more time on creating the right amount of tension, suspense and atmosphere to lure you in and wreck your nerves.

The first 30-35 minutes are rather slow, but never boring. We get introduced to the characters (and their possible motives for murder), all quite clichéd, but unexpectedly all of them are somehow likable, even the assholes. Then suddenly all hell breaks loose and for the remaining 20-25 minutes (yes, it's only about one hour long!), I was on the edge of my seat, not just trying to find out who the killer was, but also trying to capture all the insanity that was going on. Dangerous traps, vicious kills, blood, screams, explosion and a killer wearing a cool mask that looks a bit "Burial Ground"-like.


The acting ranges from pretty great to pretty mediocre. Stand-outs: Tyler Riley, Tori Ahr and slasher-regular Hannah Herdt. Camera work and editing are decent, some cool gore effects, neat use of low-budget CGI and a rocking soundtrack. It could have been better with a few tweaks here and there (better sound editing, better acting, not-so-clichéd characters), but overall, "The Woods Within" is a fabulous little indie slasher that rocked my little world.


Thanks to Hannah Herdt and Roman Jossart for the screener!

4 comments:

  1. You've even got me curious about who the killer is! Wishing you a wonderful 2015!!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you, a wonderful 2015 to you too, Lexa! :)

      Delete
  2. Sounds pretty good - I am a slasher fan...

    ReplyDelete

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