A Night In The Woods Review

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  • A Night In The Woods film still

Score

This British found-footage horror yarn is hamstrung by cliché and a lack of clear direction.

On this plus side, this film is only 78 minutes. On the down side, it's 78 minutes of tommyrot. Richard Parry's logic-neutral found footage horror thriller traces the movements of an emotionally combustable ménage à trois as they head out for a short camping holiday on Dartford Heath.

Brody (Scoot McNariy) and his girlfriend Kerry (Anna Skellern) pick up third wheel Leo (Andrew Hawley) and head out into the wilds. Brody gets jealous when Leo seems to be getting a little over-friendly with Kerry, and before the passive-aggressive power plays have even had a chance to simmer, they're all running about the place screaming and getting their expensive North Face jackets covered in mud and blood.

A bit like Knife in the Water meets Blair Witch only terrible, Parry's film falls down on all the little character nuances which might have otherwise endeared us to these vacuous and hateful meat puppets. The film we see has – per an opening intertitle – been retroactively edited from footage discovered in the woods, and as with all such auto-archive projects, the question that hangs over the whole film is: would your instinct to keep filming really overwhelm your instinct to not be killed?

In order to engender a sense of mild mystery, the film presents a few snippets of archive material (shot before the trip) to give the character motives some context. This not only dampens the intensity of being trapped alone, at night, on the moors, but is the equivalent of shouting "look, look, this is why this person is doing this!" in your face.

The naturalistic performances, especially from Skellern, are occasionally noteworthy, and at the beginning of the film there is a real chemistry between her and McNairy. Yet, this naturalism is constantly undercut by baffling post-production decisions, especially the fact that the camera being used to document this holiday from hell has random feedback/white noise jitters like no piece of tech equipment you've ever seen before. We only hope that they kept the receipt.

Anticipation

Buzz for this digi low budgeter has been less than zero. Thought Scoot McNariy is on the rise...

2

Enjoyment

A few mildly effective scares, but all so derivative.

2

In Retrospect

Not really much to take away from this one...

1
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