Director Jeremy Benson’s (Live Animals, Shutter) Girl In Woods,adds a log to the survival horror genre fire.
Starring Juliet Reeves London (Zombies, Zombies, Zombies), as Grace a women with traumatic past who gets her sanity beat with an ugly stick in the rural Tennessee mountains. While on a romantic trek with her fiancé (real life husband & Mallrats alum Jeremy London) , a freak accident occurs killing him and leaving her stranded on top of olé Smokey. Mind you she’s not alone… suffering from schizophrenia, and limited on medication, Grace has plenty of nasty friends to play with.
Benson deploys flashback after flashback to tell Graces horrific childhood. Where she witnessed her father’s suicide ( or did murder him), and her loony mothers (Veronica Mars’ Charisma Carptener ) as well. The facts are blurry on purpose, making Grace an unreliable character keeping you guessing throughout.
As Grace’s sickness grows and her survival rate shrinks we witness true depravity in her attempt to live. The question becomes is it her head or there some supernatural force at work. Benson does us a solid by leaving it up for debate. He also leaves the door open for sequals.
Girl In Woods definitely kicks its star around, bruised, bloody, drenched, and dirty Mrs. London gives it her all. Even if her dialogue reeks at times, her screams never feel hollow. Her turn as Grace here should open some doors in the Scream Queen game. The supporting cast is pretty solid in their limited screen time, Mr. London and Charisma shine. Even director Benson’s daughter gets in the act as a young Grace.
Girl In Woods isn’t a perfect film, but it does enough in the lower horror budget scene to stand out. Most of its issue stems from that : limited funds. But there are moments when the (limited) character dialogue back-and-forth gets a little silly. As I said before, there are a plethora of flashbacks and muddies an already adventurous script. Missteps aside, the ragging fire we call horror welcomes Girl In Woods as kindling !
On VOD June 3rd.