Thursday, 6 September 2012

A Night In The Woods

Brody (Scoot McNairy) and Kerry (Anna Skellern) plan a trip to Dartmoor, for a weekend of walking and climbing through the British countryside. Seeking an opportunity to reunite with old friend Leo (Andrew Hawley), Kerry invites him along for the ride, and this rather uncomfortable trio head into the wild. Come nighttime, after a day of division and confrontation, the choice of places to camp leads to an even tenser environment. The group fight for their lives in the pitch black, against each other, and something malevolent that its haunting them.

A Night In The Woods has been held in a mysterious limbo, a limbo more mysterious than the story in it. I first saw A Night In The Woods over a year ago at the 2011 Frightfest, since then it has sloped its way around festivals, before briefly appearing in cinemas now. While the slow process is not unfamiliar territory in the movie world, few have been quite so silent. And maybe that’s a little bit telling.

Shot in a found footage style, the story is told via multiple cameras; the difference in this movie over many others however, is development. While many found footage offerings go straight into the action, A Night In The Woods builds up the characters; it looks at their issues and insecurities, while exposing their sinister underbellies at the same time.  You really get the impression that something is very different with this movie, over similar offerings.

Having started in a very different way from all of its comparative movies, sadly A Night In The Woods takes a sharp decline, as it suddenly follows down a similar path to the Blair Witch Project, with running around, wobbly cameras, legend, and a death count. As the story unravels an audiences eyes roll back into their heads, we’ve been here before they all think.

A Night In The Woods brings only character development, and a general unsettling feeling to the table, over other similar movies. However it’s worth bearing in mind that over a decade has passed since its most similar comparison, and we have a new cinema audience to contend with. This aspect might well be the strength for the movie, while older audience members will just sigh, the more youthful audience might just find something new here.

This is a movie that is not going to set the world on fire, although it does have some incredibly unpleasant moments. If you have never seen Blair Witch, this is going to be right up your street, if you have, just don’t have any expectations.

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