Reviewed by The Foywonder
Starring Tamara Czartoryski, William Van Noland, Paul Shaw, Ivory Dortch, Brad Smith, Dedan Donovan
Directed by Aaron Harvey
Distributed by Lionsgate Home Entertainment
The Evil Woods opens with a couple in the woods getting slaughtered by an axe-wielding maniac. The opening credits that follow consist of showing us teens on a car trip to the woods smoking pot the whole way there. Since The The Evil Woods lets it be known from the get-go that this is not a film that’s going to mine any fresh slasher movie territory I guess I probably shouldn’t complain too much about how stale the rest of the film would prove to be. But I will anyway!
Carload of teens – CHECK
Heading to the woods – CHECK
Drink beer – CHECK
Smoke pot – CHECK
Have sex – CHECK
Campfire tales – CHECK
Puerile attempts at humor – CHECK
Creepy redneck locals – CHECK
Car breaks down – CHECK
No cell phone signal – CHECK
Ominous warning issued – CHECK
Gratuitous nudity – CHECK
Fake jump scares – CHECK
Pointless dream sequences – CHECK
Costumed killer – CHECK
If you’ve seen only one movie about a group of teens in the woods getting killed by a homicidal maniac, then not only have you already seen The Evil Woods, I’m also willing to bet you’ve seen it done better. The first victim of this film’s killer was the creative process.
Upon arriving in this desolate woodland area they’ll sit around a campfire talking about sex until an older stranger happens upon their camp and starts telling them about how this spot in the woods used to be quite the party place back in his day, eventually segueing into a supposedly true tale of a horrific event that took place in these very woods. Then he leaves and its right back to the insipid sex talk. After buying it’s time for half its short running time, the killings finally begin and they really weren’t worth the wait.
About that slasher… Either The Evil Woods is the first slasher film bold enough to mimic the winter coat-wearing killer from Urban Legend or Kurt Russell wandered in from the set of The Thing ready to go on an axe-swinging killing spree. The killer has no personality. Heck, none of the victims have any personality except for a guy named John who is so obnoxious he’ll make your skin crawl.
The Evil Woods is written with the mentality of a teenager who watched a bunch of slasher movies and believes anyone can do it. Problem is, as we’ve seen from countless similar slasher flicks over the years, anyone can do it, but not just anyone can do it well. Extremely slow paced, duller than dirt, chock full of puerile dialogue, and questionable acting, this slasher flick is a bore that doesn’t even boast any inspired kills. Even clocking in at a mere 75-minutes, I don’t want to say this movie is slow but I frequently felt the urge to want to poke my television screen with a stick and tell it to move along.
After enduring their little movie, I decided to take a peek at the “making of” segment. It quickly became apparent that this was yet another case of the people making a movie having more fun doing so than anyone watching it ever will. About the only positive comment I can make about this movie is that it’s competently shot. The filmmakers clearly have the technical know-how to make a professional-looking movie on a very tiny budget. Now if only they could work on making a movie you would want to watch.
According to that same “making of”, the film’s pre-Lionsgate title was The Deranger. Lionsgate should have stuck with that more fitting title because this film is so bad it’s maddening.
The opening sequence has the first two potential victims playing a drinking game called “Beer Hunter”. Sort of like Russian Roulette, you shake up a can of beer, put it back in the cooler with the other beers, mix’em around, hand someone a beer, tell them to open it, and if they get sprayed with the beer they’ll “be killed by the beer hunter” – whatever the hell that means. Personally, I think a better version of this game would be to make the person who gets sprayed with the beer have to watch The Evil Woods. Alcoholics Anonymous should introduce my version of this game because I’m fairly positive the threat of having to repeatedly sit through this film could potentially cure alcoholism once and for all.
1/2 out of 5
1/2 out of 5