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
Stylish, Imaginative Horror Period Piece Along The Lines Of "Suspiria".
I'd been awaiting this film's release for over a year now, and finally, after a bunch of problems with editing and whatnot, this movie got a DVD release. "The Woods" tells the story of a troubled girl named Heather (Agnes Bruckner), who is sent to a secluded private girls school in 1965 by her estranged parents after causing problems and lighting a tree on fire in their back yard. Ms. Traverse (Patricia Clarkson), along with two other women, run the old school. Heather doesn't seem to fit in at the school, and has a rough first week there, getting in scuffles with a snobby bully named Samantha (Rachel Nichols). Her only friend is Marcy, a quiet girl who is nice but shy. As she spends more time around the school, Heather has nightmares and hears strange voices, and is told the story of some witches who took over the school 100 years ago. As more strange events occur in and around the woods surrounding the school, girls begin to disappear.
Unlike some, I found "The Woods" to be a satisfying horror film. I'll start off with the story - it's intriguing but derivative, I'd describe it as a hybrid of "Suspiria" and "The Watcher in the Woods", which are both films that I love, I might add. While it does borrow ideas from these films, it's nonetheless an imaginative and entertaining movie. The direction in the film was great - Lucky McKee, who spawned the unique fairy-tale-like horror film, "May", does a good job with this film. There are some really creative & spooky sequences and some nice cinematography to offer, plus the great '60s atmosphere was strongly present, brought to life through the costumes, sets, and the vintage score, and providing a perfect backdrop for the story to take place. I tend to have a soft spot for period pieces, so I really liked the time setting.
The acting was on par and flowed naturally, the whole cast performed very well. Agnes Bruckner is likable in her role and Patricia Clarkson was great as the mysterious, something-isn't-quite-right-about-her Mrs. Traverse. Horror legend Bruce Campbell (of the "Evil Dead" series) plays Heather's father, although his role is pretty minor. And Rachel Nichols, who had a small role in the "Amityville Horror" remake, plays the rude school bully very well. There are some neat special effects used nicely throughout the film, and weren't too overdone. The CG was surprisingly really real-looking. I felt the conclusion of the of the film was slightly rushed, but I've seen films end much quicker than this, so for me it wasn't really a big deal. Plus, the ending features some great witch slashings via an axe, which was a nice addition to the film since the majority of it is gore free.
Overall, "The Woods" is a satisfying horror movie. It's different, but it's imaginative and throughly entertaining, with a great story and a strong vintage atmosphere. Definitely not bad at all, especially for a horror period piece. Other than the slightly rushed conclusion, I can't really say anything bad about it. It took over a year to finally get a release (in any form), but the wait was well worth it. I love stuff like this, so it was almost perfect for me. One of the better horror films of the past year. 9/10.
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