New Release Horror: Girl in Woods - Reviewed

Girl in Woods is out today. Read our review. 

After at least forty good years of horror cinema, we should have learned the essential life lesson that nothing good ever happens when people venture into the woods. Adding a person who suffers from some sort of severe psychological disorder like schizophrenia means that bad things are bound to happen. This is not a love story or a Disney princess romance. This is the classic tale of boy takes girl into forest, boy dies, and girl gets lost in the forest and proceeds to lose her damned mind. During her time lost in the forest, we witness her gradual transformation and emotional breakdown, venturing into her complicated and troubled past as a child.

It’s hard to actually pin down this movie, as it combines elements of various horror subgenres. It’s a psychological thriller, a slasher film, and an urban legend origin tale. Maybe it deserves its own new subgenre – “psycho-slasher-urban legend.”

Holy crap!!! It's log. It's better than bad! It's good!

The movie is beautifully made. It has lush scenic images of the Smoky Mountains in Tennessee, with lots of footage taking place along a river. The score is adequate enough for this type of feature. There is a decent amount of gore and violence to satisfy most horror fans, with the nightmare sequences being particularly chilling. The acting is decent, mostly focusing on actress Juliet Reeves London as the main character who is mentally unhinged and slowly growing worse. She does a good job of playing multiple personalities in her role as Grace. The other main actors, Jeremy London, Charisma Carpenter, and Lee Perkins are all good in the minimal time they are on screen.

There are several problems with the motion picture. First and foremost is the pacing. The first third of the movie runs really slowly and mainly consists of Grace walking around the woods. There are also many questionable decisions by her that seem like the audience was just supposed to accept, and chalk it up to the mental illness.  The other main issue is that this character and situation never outdo the ones that we have already seen before.  She isn’t crazier than Norman Bates in Psycho or Jack Torrance in The Shining, who both obviously had some mental problems. She doesn’t out-slasher Michael Myers in Halloween or Jason in Friday the 13th. This doesn’t create a better urban legend than Candyman or The Blair Witch Project did.

It’s all unfortunately middle-of-the-road, creating an average, but not great, horror picture. I would recommend Cub over this, which has many of the same themes that are focused on in this one. 

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-Raul VanTassle