A NIGHT IN THE WOODS (2012)
A Night In The Woods is a dull British found footage horror that expects it’s audience to accept some fairly ludicrous plot elements to tell it’s story, as well as, directly lifts it’s climactic act from the classic Blair Witch Project. The silly story finds American Brody (Scoot McNairy) going on a camping trip into the moors with his British girlfriend Kerry (Anna Skellern). But, Kerry has invited her ‘cousin’ Leo (Andrew Hawley) along and tension starts from the very beginning with Brody not happy with the presence of this mysterious family member and his obvious closeness to Kerry. Of course a stop in a local pub brings us folk tales of devil worshipers and a phantom huntsman who hangs sinners from trees so, our supernatural element is given us, as we know this will come into play later. But, as the three settle in, truths are revealed as camera voyeur Brody knows that Leo is not a cousin but an ex boyfriend and the tensions begin to rise as Brody makes this known to both Leo and Kerry. But, once Brody goes off into the night and Leo goes off to pursue him, Kerry is left alone at their remote camp… or is she? Written and directed by Richard Parry, this is a tedious flick to sit through even at a scant 80 minutes. The fact that Kerry would invite her volatile ex-boyfriend along on a camping trip with her current, volatile boyfriend… and lie about it… is ridiculous enough to swallow but, the fact that Brody is aware of who Leo might be and actually agrees to the trip instead of confronting Kerry about it then and there, is even more ridiculous. We get about fifty minutes of this soap opera level melodrama where we find out both men are a bit unbalanced… and Kerry obviously has terrible judgement and taste in men… before the film tries to ignite a supernatural spark but, at that point we are already too bored and don’t like any of these self-centered and obviously emotionally disturbed people to care. The idea that Brody would leave in the middle of the night to go hiking, leaving Kerry and Leo alone together while knowing Leo is her ex, is possibly the worst of the ridiculous plot elements director Parry expects us to accept and the fact that Kerry would let Leo go after him with the tension high between the two, makes it even more laughable. Finally, when left alone, we are given a last act where something might be pursuing Kerry and we get the full Blair Witch treatment with screams in the dark, lots of running around in the middle of the woods via camera view and the prerequisite jolt ending. It’s not bad enough that the filmmakers pile improbability on top of improbability in terms of the story between the three characters but, they top it off with a completely derivative climax that offers nothing new and certainly nothing scary. The film has a scant few moments here and there such as some well portrayed tension between the three principles, though the absurd nature of what is going on ruins any appreciation of it. And the locations are well shot using their creepiness to maximum effect but, the poor story and rip-off climax numbs any appreciation of this too. A complete waste of time that either bores you with it’s ridiculously contrived drama or numbs you with it’s blatant use of another, far better, movie’s climax. Avoid unless it’s your mission to watch every found footage movie you can get your hands on.
1 and 1/2 stars.