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She Walks In The Woods Main

She Walks the Woods Movie Review

Written by Ted McCarthy

Released by Cult Classic Horror

she walks in the woods poster large

Directed by John Crockett and Brian McCulley
Written by Danny Bohnen and Scotty Bohnen
2019, 79 minutes, Not Rated
Released on October 29th, 2019

Starring:
Scotty Bohnen as Brad Rayburn
Danny Bohnen as Mike Rayburn
Jason Potter as Dennis Copley
Vivienne Edridge as Hope

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Review:

Twenty years ago (God, I feel old), The Blair Witch Project came out in theaters. Widely considered a minor modern horror classic, much ink has been spilled in the last two decades about its profitability as well as the brilliance of its initial marketing campaign (one of the first to use the then-burgeoning Internet to its advantage). And while that press has been deserved, it sometimes downplayed the film’s chief success: that it was scarily effective. I mention The Blair Witch Project because She Walks the Woods tries so very hard to emulate it, but, predictably, falls short in virtually every way.

After a two-minute cold open involving some well-armed but ill-fated hunters and a screeching off-screen beast, we’re introduced to another group of young, plucky, and intrepid wannabe filmmakers. Mike Rayburn (Danny Bohnen) and his genitalia-obsessed brother Brad (Scotty Bohnen) are the creators of an amateur survival web series, a la Man Vs. Wild. With their cameraman Dennis (Jason Potter), they plan to film a hiking and camping trip in the Rocky Mountains. Dennis’ crush from film school, Hope (Vivienne Edridge), tags along, offering her family’s rustic shanty as a shelter and home base. Once they venture into the wilderness, it eventually becomes apparent (to them – we knew from the beginning) that they’re being hunted by something vicious.

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The Blair Witch comparisons are unavoidable, but more on that in a minute. The most frustrating thing is how the movie squanders its saving elements at different points along the way. For example, the interaction between the three male leads towards the beginning feels believable and naturalistic. We all know close-knit guy buddies who constantly bust each other’s balls, and much of what appears to be improvised dialogue works. The problem is, it goes on for far too long. The film is 79 minutes with credits, and the inevitable nighttime climax only takes up the last 20 or so. This means the other solid hour consists primarily of talking. And walking. And talking while walking. It just grows tiresome very quickly.

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Conversely, when the finale comes, it’s actually tense and effective, even if it does over-rely on jump scare techniques we’ve seen before. It’s here, however, that the breezy, naturalistic acting we spent the last hour with goes to hell. When the ad-libbers are required to actually emote and be scared, the performances become as wooden as the surrounding scenery. The Blair Witch Project shows its characters slowly break down from disorientation, sleep deprivation, hunger, and paranoia. Here we never once buy that these guys sense any real fear or danger, and their exchanges suddenly sound forced and very scripted. After a couple squishy-sounding character deaths, we even get a knockoff “bro” version of Heather’s iconic tearful apology from Blair Witch.

If you’re somehow a diehard fan of all things found footage, and you set your expectations low enough, you might think there are worse ways to spend 79 minutes. It’s not entirely unwatchable, but unfortunately it’s so derivative that there’s nothing really worth recommending, either.

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Grades:

Movie: 1.5 Star Rating Cover
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