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A Night In The Woods (DVD)

One too many for the found footage subgenre?

Disc Specs

Starring Scoot McNairyAnna SkellernAndrew Hawley Disc Cover
Directed By Richard Parry Certificate 15
Audio Dolby Digital 5.1
Visuals 16:9 Anamorphic Widescreen
Running Time 72 mins
UK Release Date September 10, 2012
Genre Horror
Our Rating
User Rating


So if you weren't quite fed up of found footage horror yarns just yet, A Night in the Woods could be just the little chiller to push you over the edge of never wanting to delve into the shaky cam laden subgenre again. Now the reason for this isn't that ANITW is necessarily a bad film, it's just so similar in theme to The Blair Witch Project that it feels as if the genre has finally been squeezed dry and we've finally gone full circle.

We've got a girl and two guys, heading to a woods to investigate an old legend. En route they hit up the locals for a few vox pops, only to find that the general consensus is that they should pack up their gear and head back home while the blood is still inside their bodies. Naturally, they throw caution to the wind and set up camp on the edge of the woods and wait for night to fall to see if anything will happen...and it does.

Now a few things have changed between The Blair Witch Project and A Night in the Woods, the woods of Burkittsville have been swapped for the creepy forests of Dartmoor and the characters have been given backstories to flesh them out as scheming, conniving shits. Also, the Blair Witch has been subbed for The Wistman - a hunter that roams the woods, carving crosses into his victims' foreheads before hanging them. Other than that, it's practically identical, right down to characters being awoken in the dead of the night by their tent shaking violently.

One big difference is that this gang aren't lost. They're not stuck in the middle of a wood without any clear sense of direction – they're camped at the edge of a forest and never once seem to venture more than 100 yards away from their tents. As such, it doesn't take long before you start scratching your head as to why they don't just leave the fiendish forest and go home. It's a glaring flaw that never occurred in Ellie Kedward's film, meaning that you could appreciate the pickle the trio of filmmakers were getting themselves into – not so much in this case.

Another problem is that the pacing is just plain lousy. It's painfully slow to get going and, at the halfway mark, it's clear that they just don't have the time to build up tension slowly. Before you know it, the second half ramps itself into horror overdrive as tensions suddenly escalate for no real reason. The whole thing's over before it's even begun, leaving way too many questions to even warrant being labelled as ambiguous. It feels lazily put together and suffers heavily for it.

It's been 13 years since The Blair Witch Project and nobody wants to see a diet retread when they can check out the one that started this whole craze. Of course Blair Witch was more than just a film, it was a brilliant exercise in viral marketing that left many wondering if what they saw was real. A Night In The Woods unfortunately has very little going for it within the medium of the film itself and absolutely zilch in terms of a decent marketing campaign. As such, you'll be left wanting someone to take the whole subgenre into the woods and leave it there to die on account of this film's sins.

As for the disc, you get a making of documentary (which kind of defeats the object of the found footage format) and a trailer that's every bit as naff as the film. In all, it's a really disappointing disc.

Overall verdict: Found footage comes full circle in a shameless, humdrum retread of Blair Witch that adds in unnecessary backstory and siphons out the charm and gore.

Reviewer: Jordan Brown

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