When a successful country lawyer captures and attempts to "civilize" the last remaining member of a violent clan that has roamed the Northeast coast for decades, he puts the lives of his family in jeopardy.
Brandon Gerald Fuller,
Lauren Ashley Carter
In 1965, after provoking a fire in a forest, the rebel teenager Heather Fasulo is sent to the boarding school Falburn Academy in the middle of the woods by her estranged mother Alice Fasulo and her neglected father Joe Fasulo. The dean Ms. Traverse accepts Heather in spite of the bad financial condition of her father. The displaced Heather becomes close friend of he weird Marcy Turner, while they are maltreated by the abusive mate Samantha Wise. During the nights, Heather has nightmares and listens to voices from the woods, and along the days she believes that the school is a coven of witches. When some students, including Marcy, simply vanish, Heather believes she will be the next one. Written by
Claudio Carvalho, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
Patricia Clarkson and Angela Bettis's second film together. They played mother and daughter in the television adaption of Stephen King's Carrie. See more »
When Heather sits down to eat with the girls for the first time, she is holding a plate of mashed up cake, she is told to pull her socks up by one a girl, the camera flashes to her socks then back to her and the cake is now whole. See more »
Stylish, well acted, but distinctly lacking in chills
To hear Director Lucky McKee tell it at a post screening interview at the 2006 Fantasia film festival, the reason his movie The Woods hasn't been released is due to "corporate bullshit", however I'd have to say it has more to do with a distinct lack of tension and chills which, in a horror movie, isn't good. If you were looking for a reason why MGM has kept this movie sitting on the shelf for the past three years, this would be it.
Don't get me wrong. The Woods is a stylish, slickly made, well acted movie. Far worse have made their big screen debut, although simply because other studios have seen fit to put lesser fare in the cineplexes, doesn't necessarily mean they should follow suit with The Woods.
The movie tells the story of Heather (Agnes Bruckner), a troubled girl with a penchant for setting fires, who is relegated to an all girl boarding school by her parents, played by Canadian actress Emma Campbell and "The Chin" Bruce Campbell of Army of Darkness fame. It's there that she slowly learns that witchcraft is afoot and that she, along with select other students have been targeted for ulterior motives by the nefarious teaching staff as a result of their unique paranormal talents.
McKee, who rose to fame with his 2002 movie May, draws heavily on Italian horror cinema influences (the film bears more than a passing similarity to Dario Argento's Suspira), The Woods devotes far more time than most films of the genre building audience identification with the central characters, which normally is a good thing, however in this case it appears to have come at the expense of the fright factor. I suppose McKee was aiming for a slow, turn-of-the-screw approach to mounting tension, culminating with the film's orgasmic release, however it didn't work for me. Instead the movie seemed to plod along in a meandering fashion, only to suddenly kick into high gear during the final 15 minutes.
It's all too bad, really, because The Woods has many strengths going for it. It's terrifically photographed, the cinematography even plays with color hues throughout the film for a stylish effect. It's well acted with copious nifty quirks, the dialog flows naturally, and the special effects are superb. If only this movie delivered more chills than it promises, it would have probably been released a year or more ago.
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