THE DEVIL’S WOODS (2015)
Low budget English horror has two couples (Stephen Cromwell, Danielle Keaney, Daniel Mahony and Caoimhe Cassidy) heading to a music festival and deciding to camp out in the English backwoods, in an area said to be haunted and a site where there have been many disappearances. Makes sense! Obviously there is someone…or something…awaiting them in the woods and their numbers begin to dwindle as one by one they meet a gruesome fate.
Written and directed by Anthony White, this is a very familiar story that features all the clichés. We get the stoner idiot who neglects to tell the others that they are going to an area known for disappearances, creepy redneck locals who stare at strangers and masked individuals stalking our youths in the spooky woods with pointy objects. There is little or no suspense and the acting is strictly amateur, though Danielle Keaney shows some spunk and fire as our final girl, Jennifer. Characters do stupid things, obviously, by the initial story set-up, including the villains who don’t understand the concept that your victim won’t kick you in the nuts and escape if your tie her up properly. Duh, even most inbred rednecks know that! A strictly low budget effort that shows White may have a love of horror flicks, but needs to learn a bit more about what makes them actually work.
DON’T GO TO THE REUNION (2013)
Ultra low budget flick looks like a home movie, even if it has it’s heart in the right place. Flick has a very simiar plot to the recent Most Likely To Die with a group of in-crowders gathering for a ten year high school reunion at a remote house that has been arranged for them by an unknown individual…already not a good sign. Back in high school, the group orchestrated a terrible prank on the introverted, horror movie loving, high school nerd to insure their friend made school valedictorian instead. Their prank got the kid expelled and put him in a mental institution where he later committed suicide. Now the group are being slaughtered one by one and in ways the echo classic horror movies!
Directed by Steve Goltz and written by Kevin Sommerfield this horror homage wants to have it both ways. It wants to be like an 80s horror with it’s plot of a prank gone wrong being avenged years later and also wants to be a post-Scream slasher complete with all the meta horror movie references and deaths derived from horror classics. And if you didn’t get the point, the villain will explain it to you step by step like the killers in Wes Craven’s 1996 classic did. I appreciate the effort and that our filmmakers obviously have a love for these type of movies, but even as a homage it’s not very original and the dialog, acting and kills are all strictly amateur. It’s also might be a bit insulting that after all the obvious horror movie references, the filmmakers felt a need to have a character explain it to us in case we missed the blatantly obvious.