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The Woods Reviews

Page 1 of 35
familiar s

Super Reviewer

December 14, 2010
The performance by one and all the actors & actresses involved was top-notch. Wish I could say that about the movie's script too!!! While the movie wasn't great, it was relatively watchable. See it or miss, whatsoever you wish.
Nicki M

Super Reviewer

February 17, 2008
I have watched this twice now, and have changed my original rating from 3 1/2 to 4 stars. I think the first time I watched it I expected a standard horror movie, which this isn't.
I actually really enjoyed this second time around as I could appreciate it's subtleties a little more. Instead of pretty cardboard cut out teens with little background being terrorized, you have real characters here and the story takes time to build.
I was very impressed with Agnes Bruckner here as Heather - i had only seen her play the cute girl prior to this. And while she is still attractive here, it is in a more plucky and individual way - certainly she is outcast here and teased about her red hair.
Heather has been sent away to boarding school by her parents for misbehavior at her previous school. Her mother can't wait to get rid of her. She is offered a scholarship to this school, though she circles any old thing on her multiple choice quiz, which is the first clue that the beautiful, but creepy headmistress played wonderfully by Patricia Clarkson, wants her for some other reason than her brains!
This takes time to build up as you slowly get to know the girls, and by the time some of them start to disappear, you care about them.
Not an overly gory movie and the body count is fairly low for this genre, but I don't necessarily call that a bad thing. There are plenty of scares and creepy moments here.
Leigh R

Super Reviewer

August 29, 2006
Figured out the ending way early. Watched mostly due to Patricia Clarkson being in it, but it wasn't scary or even the least bit creepy to me. Could have spent the time doing better things.
LWOODS04
LWOODS04

Super Reviewer

August 7, 2010
Cast: Agnes Bruckner, Patricia Clarkson, Bruce Campbell, Lauren Birkell, Jane Gilchrist, Colleen Williams, Marcia Bennett, Rachel Nichols, Kathleen Mackey

Director: Lucky McKee

Summary: Set in 1965 in the buttoned-up world of an all-girls private boarding school, this horrifying tale features the acting chops of Oscar nominee Patricia Clarkson, who appears as the chilly headmistress. Based on the nightmarish visions she's been having since her arrival, new student Heather (Agnes Bruckner) knows that the woods surrounding the school aren't normal. And when her classmates begin disappearing, she has no choice but to investigate.

My Thoughts: "I wouldn't say it's a scary flick, but its a bit creepy. Has some chilling moments. But it wasn't that great of a film for me. The acting was there, the scenery, and the big creepy house covered in vines. But what wasn't there was a strong story-line. It just felt really cheesy to me at times. Plus it didn't help how predictable it was. Would have liked it more if they explored Heathers, or even the teachers powers a bit more. So, not great, but worth seeing."
Dean !

Super Reviewer

January 12, 2007
A very slow paced eerie horror. It has an ok cast with some well known faces, the idea and location seem a good setting. However this didn't live up to expectation for me. The ending did feel rushed and seem to leave a few loose ends not really explained. It's ok nothing great.
ScoopOnline
ScoopOnline

Super Reviewer

August 27, 2007
A Movie based upon real events. Very nice made.
flixsterman
flixsterman

Super Reviewer

January 18, 2009
I wanted to like this one but couldn't lower my I.Q. far enough to find any of this original or interesting.
Dr Blood  

Super Reviewer

July 28, 2007
This is now the best horror movie that I've seen not just this year but for many years. I don't understand why this turned out to be a straight to DVD release as it's certainly good enough for a theatrical distribution.
I can't find enough good things to say about this at all. Not only does it do for witches what "Ginger Snaps" did for werewolves but everything is perfectly executed from the 1960s period setting to the outstanding acting by everyone involved.
The director, Lucky McKee, was also responsible for the more lacklustre "May" but don't hold that against him. This time he really got everything right. Again, he has used a very strong lead, Agnes Bruckner, and she will definitely enchant you (pun intended) throughout.
It has a sufficiently spooky atmosphere, great characterisation, a good storyline and excellent gore scenes at the end.
Don't believe anyone who writes bullshit comments about this being "derivative" and "unoriginal". Yes, it does have similarilties to "Carrie", "The Initiation of Sarah" and a great many others but it does it all so much better and mixes the elements in a far more entertaining way. You'll be drawn in so much by it that you won't even notice the "clichés" that the nitpickers like to point out.
The plot is indeed also similar to "Suspiria" but only in the way that "Suspiria" is the same as "Rosemary's Baby", i.e. they both have a coven of witches involved. But whereas "Suspiria" is an unwatchable boring crapfest, this is a much smoother affair and much more enjoyable in every way.
Even the music is good!
Lafe F

Super Reviewer

August 18, 2007
A girl uncovers an evil coven at her boarding school in this atmospheric and horrifying film, which reminded me of "Suspiria" in ways.
Edward B

Super Reviewer

May 22, 2007
It seems that a really good film could have been made out of this material. But McKee's effort essentially is more shlock than shock.
Drew S

Super Reviewer

April 18, 2007
I could see this garnering a cult following. It's sensuous, visually appealing, and oddly cozy for a movie of its genre. Unfortunately, The Woods is blatantly uneven.

The beginning's great. A cast of interesting characters (well, with a couple of caricatures, like Samantha the Mean Girls Transplant) interacting in a neat-looking environment, all with a thin undercurrent of suspicion running through it. There's a compelling arc for Heather, our main character, and Patricia Clarkson offers a great performance.

Sadly, though, the movie can't keep up this caliber. It unravels at the 45-minute point, where the hit-and-miss scares and stylish suspense vanish completely in favor of some really unimpressive tree action scenes. Lucky McKee throws a few neat little tricks our way to keep us awake until the climax, which feels rushed and disappointing.

The Woods is an interesting take on this genre, alternating between visceral and subtle, classy and blunt. It is simply not a very well-paced movie, however. Perhaps the most noteworthy thing is Bruce Campbell's cameo.
deano
deano

Super Reviewer

November 26, 2006
What a chilling supernatural-horror film in the all-girls boarding school. Way to go for a newest student who found the mysterious secret and defeat them at the final scene.
Daniel P

Super Reviewer

June 22, 2007
At the director's own admission, the film that has been released (so far anyway) was subject to studio interference, which includes the removal of around half an hour's worth of material. This may explain the slightly uneven shift in tone around the final third mark, but The Woods is still an excellent film. Patricia Clarkson is unusual, surprising and inspired casting as Ms Traverse, the headmistress of an all-girls boarding school situated deep in a forest. New pupil Heather (Agnes Bruckner - also excellent) - whose mother's idea it was to send her to the school for "one last chance" at making her proud - is almost immediately bullied by her classmates (but finds friendship with one girl), and wants to go home, but her mother insists she stays. It's not long before Heather starts to become suspicious over the true nature of the school as odd things happen - she hears voices in the woods, fellow pupils go missing, and the teachers seem to be hiding things. For it's first hour, The Woods subtly builds intrigue and suspense, before shifting in tone to more of an out and out horror, filled with blood and special effects. Throughout, the film remains technically very accomplished: the costumes, lighting, direction, music score and locations are spot on, and the editing, which largely uses transitions and overlaps between scenes, is very effective and allows the film to have a rythm all of its own. The story itself is reasonably compelling but the final act does feel somewhat rushed and abrupt considering what has gone before. The special effects aren't state of the art, but again, are subtly done and it's the smaller bits that really stand out: the smashing of the radio which results in the pieces all standing on end, the hint of a face that appears on a tree limb, the fog that surrounds the girls' beds while they're sleeping. And my favorite moment has no special effects trickery at all - the peeling back of bed clothes to reveal a carefully formed pile of leaves. Not a perfect film but an original and involving one, and completely different from Lucky Mckee's first feature, May.
Marcus W

Super Reviewer

January 9, 2008
Dull, predictable nonsense about a school of witches.
FanGirl
FanGirl

Super Reviewer

August 28, 2006
A good old school style horror flick. And it gets bonus points for having Bruce Campbell in it.
whosinthenews
whosinthenews

Super Reviewer

September 4, 2009
This movie is like a feature length video for Spinal Tap's "Bitch School", sort of an adult version of Harry Potter where you have a couple dozen extra Hermiones running around. Anyway, it's got plenty of jailbait in school uniforms which instantly puts this into the "watchable" category. Add in some memorable characters and rich, moody atmosphere and you've got yourself a fun little popcorn movie night.
Chosen 7

Super Reviewer

June 14, 2010
I stumbled across this interesting supernatural thriller on IFC and was surprised by how creepy it was. Some of the scenes reminded me of "The Sixth Sense","The Faculty", "The Haunting of Molly Hartley" [which sucked], and the cult-classic "Evil Dead". Good performances all around - just name a few: Agnes Bruckner ["Blood and Chocolate", "Stateside"], Rachel Nichols ["P2"], Patricia Clarkson ["Shutter Island"], Laureen Birkell, and Bruce Campbell ["Burn Notice", "Evil Dead"]. Solid writing by newcomer David Ross ["The Babysitters"]. It wasn't particularly scary but it was atmospheric and had it's moments. The director Lucky McKee did a good job for the most part. Great cinematography and music. The tension was pretty thick but they didn't capitalize on it, the ending and some of the scenes leading up to it were kind of cheesy. Overall it's an entertaining supernatural thriller despite it's unoriginality and sub-par ending.
Sunil J

Super Reviewer

April 28, 2008
There's something kind of interesting about this movie but it still falls short of being good.
Hellshocked
Hellshocked

Super Reviewer

June 7, 2007
As someone who went ga-ga over 'May', Lucky McKee's insanely great debut film, it was with great anticipation I awaited this, his followup. And I waited, and waited, and waited some more as the film went through development hell, was shelved and finally unceremoniusly released straight-to-DVD. Was it worth the wait...? Well, it's no 'May', but it is a very good film in its own right and, just as importantly, quite different.

Storywise it owes a bit to Suspiria, but lovingly, McKee does not rip Argento (or anyone else) off. What we end up with is a (for the most part) character driven, subtle, well acted horror film. I'm not sure how they managed to get Patricia Clarkson, but she is absolutely great. Agnes Bruckner is very good as well (and absolutely in love with me, though she does not know it yet) and The Bruce is The Bruce. Period.

The last 20 minutes of the film are darker, more 'traditional' horor fare, but very well done and despite their slightly surreal nature don't particularly feel out of place.

Lucky McKee has made another film worth sitting through and (if he gets some fucking respect from studios) is poised to become one of the greats of modern horror.
Robert F

Super Reviewer

October 5, 2006
So bad.
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