Story: Heather is the newest student to the all-girls school of Falburn Academy, having been dropped off by her parents for being a bit of a troublesome teenager. She quickly realizes that the school is not all it seems to be. There are rumors of witches that once inhabited the school. And Heather keeps hearing voices, while students begin disappearing into the woods. What exactly is going on at Falburn Academy and what is Heather’s connection to it all?
The Film Itself: I love director Lucky McKee’s first film ‘MAY’, so naturally, I’m been dying to check out his follow-up ‘The Woods’ for some time now. I’m not sure what the delay was? But thankfully it’s here on DVD, and proves that Lucky McKee definitely earned his label as a Master Of Horror. (He directed the episode ‘Sick Girl’ for Season One). Stylistically, it’s nothing like ‘MAY’ or ‘Sick Girl’. It’s a period piece set in the 60’s and truly it is its own thing, but it’s quite obvious from the get-go that you’re watching a Lucky McKee film. I can’t explain it, this film is just beautiful. I love the look of it, the feel of it and the music and score. The beautiful Agnes Bruckner plays Heather and she carries the whole film on her shoulders with ease. I love her constant back and forth fighting banter with Samantha (Rachel Nichols), who nick-names her “fire crotch” because of her red hair. The stuff in the first half hour with adjusting to a new school is interesting in itself, but then Heather starts hearing creepy voices from the woods (that’s Angela Bettis’s voice, by the way) and the woods themselves start taking a life of their own as the school’s back stories start to come into play. You know who’s great in this movie? Believe it or not? Bruce Campbell. Seriously! Between this and his acting in Bubba Ho-Tep (Which he was great in.) I think he’s become an even better serious actor and I wish I could see him do more of this stuff. (At least without him saying it “sucks” at convention appearances.) He has a difficult yet loving relationship with Heather that becomes more obvious towards the end of the film. Why’d it take so long for this to make it on DVD? I assume studio tampering with the final cut? And the film’s not perfect. The ending half in particular gets a bit confusing, but it still doesn’t take away from the fact that I loved watching every frame of ‘The Woods’. And am eager to see more from Lucky McKee.
Special Features: Sadly, this movie just can’t get a break. No features whatsoever on this release. I’m sure a commentary explaining the film’s post-production problems would’ve been interesting, but alas, not on this DVD. If they ever did give this flick its due and give it a fancy special edition, I’d definitely be first in line to pick it up. –Robg.
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