The Woods

"Every high school has its secrets..."
Rated: R/15
US Box Office Revenue: $??,???
International Box Office Revenue: $??,???

Director - Lucky McKee
Writer - David Ross


Agnes Bruckner - Heather Fasulo
Emma Campbell - Alice Fasulo
Bruce Campbell - Joe Fasulo
Patricia Clarkson - Ms. Traverse

4 Pies

Reviewed by Yankee

Plot Summary

A troubled girl encounters mysterious happenings in the woods surrounding an isolated girl's school.


These days, with the plethora of free channels offering uncut movies, I’m exposed to horror films I may not otherwise know of. Cruising through the guide on IFC, I stumbled upon The Woods and from its description, learned that Bruce Campbell was one of its stars. Wow! I never even heard of this one and Bruce is in it! I HAVE to check this one out!

Watching the film, I was brought back to when I was a much younger horror fan who loved to sink his teeth into the classics of the 1970s. Movies that had that damp darkness to them which I’d always associate with that time. Movies like: The Amityville Horror, The Exorcist and The Omen.

All that and the fact that Bruce Campbell’s role seemed a bit small in the beginning -picking up more later - gave me the idea that this may well be one of the earliest films he did. Maybe something he was able to get into just after tasting success with The Evil Dead? OK, that would place this at about ’82 or ’83… maybe, still on the cusp of movies that feel like the 1970s like Friday the 13th parts 1 and 2? Maybe it was scripted in the late 70s…

Not a bad assessment really, except for one little problem… The way Bruce Campbell looked. Yes, even the makeup of lower budget early 80s film could make Bruce look realistically old enough to be Heather’s dad and seem accurate being as Bruce has aged gracefully, BUT what about the fact that Bruce was REALLY scrawny in those days and yet not in this film? His body is one thing, but not his face. And of course, there is the fact that Bruce’s acting chops have only gotten better through time and his acting here is way too good to be from those days… So what gives?

I’m sure the diehard Campbell fans - and those that paid attention to the information at the top of this review - reading this have been laughing at me for the last three paragraphs because they already know that this film was released in 2006! I don’t know if I should be impressed or disgusted…


Heather: Now, Samantha, all I said was your breath smells like you've been drinking out of Ms. Mackinaw's douche bag, that's all.

Samantha: We have a certain way of doing things here. And you better find out what that way is or there will be serious consequences.

Heather: How many football players put it in you before your mom got sick of having another tramp around the house?

Samantha: If you know what's good for you, you'll run away and never, ever come back.

Ms. Traverse: Now listen: We have a certain way of doing things around her and you better figure out what that way is or there are going to be serious consequences.



Originality: ¼ Pie

There really isn't anything here that hasn't been done before and done better. The premise comes off as maybe a slightly less campy version of the most typical ideas seen in late 70s and early 80s horror. The only originality is in the fact that this kind of script is being done in the 21 st century.


Spook Factor: ¼ Pie

I suppose there is an air of creepiness to this movie, particularly when Heather is being attacked by something other than Samantha; but really that's it. If this had been released in 1975, it would have been scarier.


Antagonist: ¼ Pie

Hmmm… No face to this evil, it seems to be unstoppable and yet as a viewer I do not feel much dread. Not very scary, but it does deserve some credit for being a force to be reckoned with I suppose.


Story: ½ Pie

Starts off pretty good, but is pretty predictable throughout. It gets a bit long in the middle and fails to maintain a decent flow. The saving grace in the last third of the movie is Heather's dad finally having more relevance than just a sperm donor.


Acting: ½ Pie

There is no bad acting here per se, just nothing really stellar; which is a shame given that Bruce Campbell and Patricia Clarkson were on board.


Directing: ¾ Pie

This was a hard one to rate! The director either did a really good job in capturing what we often say is missing from horror these days (that damp dread-filled 70s and 80s feel that even remakes fail to capture) or he was trying to make a great, fresh, original horror film in the 21 st century without much success. I'm going to give Mr. McKee the benefit of a doubt and assume that he was purposely aiming for the former and didn't just “get lucky.”


Soundtrack: ½ Pie

Again, assuming that we are trying to recapture the feel of a 70s horror film, the music here works pretty well. Still, you're not going to feel “wowed” by any means nor even remember what this sounded like when it's over.


Special Effects: ½ Pie

The effects seem to fit well with my idea that this film wanted to transport you back to the 70s. They even have that organic practical effects edge to them that I personally would love if it wasn't so underwhelming.


Gore: ¼ Pie

Much like the supernatural themed horror films of the 1970s, there is very little gore shown here, neither was it necessary to have more than that.


Replay, Rewatch, Rewind: ¼ Pie

I could see this one again, on a damp, rainy Sunday where nothing good is on TV and I was too lazy to search for something better. Maybe even if one of my friends wanted to see it for the first time. That's about it.



A modern movie that is successful in capturing the look, feel and themes of early 70s supernatural horror films (enough so to make you believe it had been filmed then) and Bruce Campbell!


McKee does such a thorough job of recapturing the 1970s that the movie feels dated and not at all fresh. It's not an imitation; it's a duplication; which really does nothing at all to help the genre. Thanks anyway, “Lucky.”


Final Word

Many horror fans truly love and/or enjoy the films of the 70s and 80s because it was those films that shaped the genre towards greatness. And most will agree that the problem with horror today, especially with remakes, is that most fail to capture that kind of feel. While I did somewhat enjoy The Woods, it does make me wonder if we should be careful of what we wish for…

…so please, don't ask.

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