A group of friends go out in the woods in the British countryside only to be tormented by each other and possibly supernatural forces. Sound familiar? It should because I basically reviewed the same movie close to one year ago. It’s sort of fitting that Hollow was my first review for this site and now a carbon copy of that same film is my first review after my hiatus. Being similar to another film isn’t necessarily a bad thing either; a good film is a good film. But being almost the exact same film while managing to somehow be more boring than its already bland predecessor is never a good thing.
Brody (Scoot McNairy) and Kerry (Anna Skellern) decide to go on vacation in the woods in Britain with the Kerry’s estranged and mysterious cousin, Leo (Andrew Hawley). On the way to their destination they meet creepy locals who warn them not to go any further due to supernatural occurrences in the woods and tensions rise as the boyfriend and cousin butt heads while the mystery of that cousin begins to unravel. This is all filmed through the Brody’s camera which he always carries with him for whatever creepy reasons he has. As the story goes on, we also get the viewpoint from Leo’s camera because he also decides to film everything. It makes no sense, but at least lends a convenient way to catch multiple angles in any particular scene.
The problems with A Night in the Woods aren’t abundant, but they’re big ones. Its main problem being that it’s just boring. Building characters is great, in fact necessary, but spending 55 minutes of your 85 minute runtime solely on characters with no real outside tension or scares to go with it. And once the action does come at you an hour in, it’s a welcome change, but it’s a case of too little too late as there’s only a handful of worthwhile scenes before another run-of-the-mill found footage horror endings. An impactful ending could have gone a long way to save this film from the monotony, but it falls well short in that aspect.
A Night in the Woods’ bland storyline is tragic because most everything else is in place for success. The direction is solid while the acting is great from all three actors, especially from Anna Skellern. The look and location work in its favor as the British countryside manages to always look creepy and anyone who’s spent a night in the woods knows it’s the perfect place for a horror movie.
In the end, A Night in the Woods ends up as just another low budget found footage movie failing to extinguish itself from the already crowded pack. If you love British slow burns, then I guess this one could be worth a look, but it should be saved for a relaxing night on Netflix. Just don’t be surprised if A Night in the Woods makes your night even more boring.
A Night in the Woods will be available on demand starting September 24 and showing at special late night theatrical engagements October 4.