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The Woods Review

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[The Woods]
Plot:Set in 1965 New England, a troubled girl encounters mysterious happenings in the woods surrounding an isolated girls school that she was sent to by her estranged parents.

Cast: Agnes Bruckner, Emma Campbell, Bruce Campbell, Patricia Clarkson, Lauren Birkell, Catherine Colvey, Marcia Bennett, Rachel Nichols, Kathleen Mackey, Cary Lawrence, Colleen Williams, Gordon Currie, Jude Beny, Melissa Altro, Maia Balestriri.

My Thoughts:For all of it's great looking scenery and creepy imagery, "The Woods" only manages to live up to half of it's potential.

Review:After seeing "The Woods", I now understand why Sony was hesitant to release this film in any capacity for awhile. While "The Woods" presents a disturbing situation shrouded in an even more disturbing mystery...it slacks off alot and doesn't properly use it's characters or mystery to really engage the viewer. In "The Woods", a girl named Heather is taken to a mysterious all girls boarding school by her parents, one of which is played by Bruce Campbell, and the other played by Emma Campbell. Not sure if she's related to Bruce or not, but if she isn't...it's really freaky how two people with the same last name came to play husband and wife in the film. At any rate, soon after Heather arrives, she senses something is not right with her new school. Numerous terrifying visions, and dreams further emphasize this point in the story. This sets in motion one big mystery revolving around the school itself, it's head mistress, and what exactly resides in "The Woods". Lucky Mckee as with "May", does an excellent job with this movie when it comes to imagery. The film has that sinister fall season look to it, almost like John Carpenter's "Halloween". The problem is, writer David Ross doesn't give the viewer much to chew on as far as the films big mystery is concerned. Ross also seems to believe in dumping questions off on the audience and never giving many answers...as when Heather meets her new schoolmates their behavior's shift greatly from how they were towards her when she first arrived. Upon her arrival, Heather quickly makes enemies with a blonde girl who makes it known she has it in her mind to make her time there a living hell, while Heather makes friends with a brunette named Marcy upon arriving at the school. But as the strange happenings in and around the school become more frequent and terrifying, Marcy and the blonde chick switch places and eventually attitudes towards Heather. While it does make for a good plot twist, ultimately it seemed really stupid within the context of the movie, esepcially considering how evil the blonde was to Heather upon her arrival. It's kind of unbelieveable that she'd just switch persona's like that. Another problem with "The Woods" is that once it confirms the notion that something evil lurks out in the woods, it doesn't do anything about it. It's like okay, we've established that something bad lurks in the woods, it seems to want Heather but it seems to prefer scaring the crap out of her instead of making a play to snatch her up. Agnes Bruckner does an excellent job playing the sarcastic and mostly jaded Heather who it is revealed later on has some sort of magical abilities which the headmistress of the school seems to covet for some reason. But as good as Agnes is in this film, the movie itself really waits too late to break itself open and reveal what exactly is happening all the while creating new subplots and sub-stories which never go anywhere. Although I did hear this film was recut atleast 3 times or more, so one could assume that a few of the more mysterious sidestories of the movie, like the importance of the girls drinking their "glasses of milk" for example were trimmed drastically or eliminated altogether. Bruce Campbell isn't in the film much but does make great use of his handful of scenes, including a wild climax where Bruce in typical Ash fashion plays hero to his daughter Heather. "The Woods" is a decent effort but alot felt missing regardless. Lucky Mckee managed to create an eerie world with great imagery, but he just couldn't surround it with a stronger story and equally strong subplots.

Positives:Great imagery, good acting by most of the cast especially Agnes and Bruce. An intriguing story.

Negatives:The story felt incomplete, no clear end resolution.

Overall:Worth a watch.





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