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
A teenage girl is taken to a private school by her parents after showing signs of criminal behavior (starting fires). But the faculty and the school itself might have a long tradition of secrets behind it.
I was drawn to this film by the inclusion of actor Bruce Campbell ("The Evil Dead"), who has a pretty pointless part until much later in the film. He does very well in his role, and appears to be moving towards a more serious sense of himself as an actor (he shows none of the comedy in here that has made him famous in such roles as those in "Brisco County, Jr." or "Bubba Ho-Tep").
The real star of the film, though, is the lead actress, Agnes Bruckner. Not only very beautiful (almost in a Claire Danes way, but better) but very seductive and gripping. I often find myself pausing movies to get a sandwich or to use the restroom, but she had me watching every move like she was a puppeteer and I was her helpless marionette. I cannot say enough about this stellar performance. Oddly, Bruckner does not seem to have a well-known filmography.
I have heard from others that this is a sad follow-up to Lucky McKee's last film, "May". I disagree. While "May" was certainly a unique movie, and probably McKee's best work, this one really stood out as a mature vision from the director. I wish all sophomore efforts could come across as striking as "The Woods".
The visual effects were very nice, keeping the 1965 setting well done and making the school seem isolated in the eponymous woods. Later in the film, the visual effects become very noticeable and we see some of the best in the business. I can't say what, as it might give something away, but let me say it might remind you of a notorious scene from Campbell's earlier film, the original "Evil Dead".
The other actors and actresses were great, as well. None stood out as poor, though none were nearly as striking as the lead actress. I suppose I should point out Rachel Nichols. While she played a very conservative role here, as Samantha, she earlier appeared in "Amityville Horror" as the babysitter and later in "G. I. Joe" as Scarlett O'Hara. Watch Samantha closely on your second viewing of this film -- her motives are more interesting than you first think.
One last reason to watch "The Woods". Maybe this was a coincidence (it most likely was), but the film's theme song could easily be "You Don't Own Me" by Lesley Gore. While many remakes exist, the most notable is by a band called Rasputina, who featured it on their 1998 album "How We Quit the Forest". The title and album cover suggest a girl who is trying to leave the woods she is trapped in, not unlike the film.
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