The Woods

January 28, 2012 5 Min Read

Review by: Fusion3600

Plot: What’s it about?

Falburn Academy is located deep within a wooded area, a small outpost of civilization inside the dense forest that surrounds it. The all-girls school is well respected and caters to a very prominent, very wealthy group of clients. The newest enrollee is Heather Fasulo (Agnes Brucker), whose parents have been pushed to their limits by her behavior. In addition to her struggle with depression, Agnes hears voices and these voices have told her to act out in some disturbing ways. She has turned into a budding pyromaniac and as such, her parents have decided outside help is required. Heather has heard about troubled students going missing the school, so naturally she is worried, but once at the grounds, her fears are multiplied. The headmistress is Ms. Traverse (Patricia Clarkson), a woman who gives off an eerie witch vibe and her staff isn’t much better, all seem to have bad mojo that follows them around. She isn’t finding much to celebrate in terms of social affairs either, as the other girls are cold to her, at least most of them are. Is the school just hard nosed and demanding of its students, or is there a darker force at work…within The Woods?

After the success of his first film May and Sick Girl, his installment in the Masters of Horror line, Lucky McKee became an instant horror sensation. The wait for his second film has been extensive, but finally, The Woods is available. Sadly, as if the lack of theatrical release wasn’t enough, Sony then canceled the Special Edition for home video, so we’re left with this bare bones release. So while it is cool to be able to see the movie, it sucks to miss out on the big screen, then be denied the announced Special Edition. But enough about how Sony has botched their end of the deal, how is the movie itself? The movie wasn’t what I expected, as it is slower and more subtle than his previous film, with an emphasis on atmosphere. This is kind of like a watered down Suspiria, with the focus on music and visuals, with such a deliberate pace. I wasn’t thrilled with The Woods, it has some moments and is by no means bad, but I expected so much more. The middle of the film lags a lot, to the point I was even bored in some stretches. I don’t mind a slower pace by any means, but McKee fails to keep this one moving on the tracks in some sequences. I hope this is just studio tinkering and down the line, we’ll see McKee’s vision in a new cut, then again, perhaps this is his intended version. In any event, the movie is good and the disc is bad, so even for horror junkies, this one rates a rental.

Video: How does it look?

The Woods is presented in 2.35:1 anamorphic widescreen, with a full frame version also included on this dual layered disc. The image is very dark and shadowy, but this transfer handles it all with ease, quite impressive work. I did see some grain in a couple of the darkest scenes, but on the whole, the print looks as clean as can be. The colors don’t make too much impact, but come through as intended, while black levels are rich and sharp at all times. A few minor issues aside, this is a great looking effort and I have no serious complaints to make.

Audio: How does it sound?

The included Dolby Digital 5.1 track has solid overall presence, but lacks the depth and range I expected. The surrounds are used at times, to help with the mood and heighten tension, but they don’t have much power, so it often seems thin. I think this is the kind of movie where an eerie, atmospheric audio option would enhance the experience, so I was let down to an extent. The track is solid however, with clean and well presented dialogue & sound effects, even if the front channels shoulder most of the load. This disc also includes a French language track, as well as subtitles in English and French.

Supplements: What are the extras?

This disc includes no bonus materials.

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