It’s never a good sign when a film starts with an obvious and easily fixable gaff, and Something in the Woods does just that. The opening title card sports a very noticeable typo, something that should have been caught before it was ever filmed let alone released. If the filmmakers are paying that little attention to their film, it doesn’t bode well for what’s to come.
New York Times reporter Nora Thompson (Nicole Cinaglia, Cold Blooded Killers, Hunting Lands) has just broken a major story, exposing the criminal activity of Senator Morrison, who killed himself rather than face trial. While most people are happy to see a corrupt politician get theirs, one person isn’t, his daughter Carolyn (Vienna Hayden, How to Kill Your Roommates and Get Away with It, Horse Camp).
She’s so upset that she kidnaps Nora and takes her into the woods with the intention of killing her. But there’s something in the woods that would happily kill them both and they’ll have to work together if they want to survive.
Director Alexander T. Hwang (Bearry, Paranormal Attraction) and writer Deanna Gomez (A Bad Feeling Horror Podcast, Ravening Woods) actually start Something in the Woods off with a long sequence demonizing Nora. She’s portrayed as obsessed with fame and cold-hearted, not willing to express condolences to Senator Morrison’s family after his death. Why anyone except his family and the cartel he was helping smuggle drugs would feel bad about it isn’t explained.
The rest of Something in the Woods’ first act is taken up by a weak fight between the two women and a long, dull drive out to the woods. Complete with the obligatory stop by a cop who’s too incompetent to notice what’s going on. All of which left me plenty of time to wonder why she didn’t just kill her in her house and be done with it.
In this case, there is a reason. Carolyn wants to hunt her, The Most Dangerous Game style through the woods. Unfortunately, this is handled so limply that it’s as dull as the drive to the woods. We do at least get some shaky creature’s point of view shots that look like cheap attempts at imitating similar scenes in Predator and other similar films.
Something in the Woods is the fifth film by director Alexander T. Hwang that I’ve seen, and while they haven’t exactly been masterpieces they’ve at least been various shades of entertaining. This one however is pretty much a trainwreck from start to finish. It’s dull and talky, featuring two intentionally unlikable leads and capped off with effects by Mark Lunn (Amityville in the Hood, 5G Zombies) that includes one of the worst-looking monsters I’ve seen in years. How bad is it? I’ll let you judge for yourself.
Films about enemies having to work together to survive are a staple of horror and action films and there’s no reason Something in the Woods couldn’t have gotten some mileage out of the situation as well. But rather than putting effort into making the script frightening and the characters interesting, Hwang and Gomez are more interested in cutting away to news broadcasts that don’t add anything to the plot. They just further poke at the media by featuring a moronic anchorman and lines like “Next up, the weather with Windy Breeze”.
Something in the Woods fails as a monster movie and becomes yet another in the long line of failed attempts to make a good film centered around the legend of the Wendigo. In fact, it doesn’t just fail, it’s one of the worst.
Uncork’d Entertainment will release Something in the Woods on Digital and VOD platforms as well as DVD on September 6th. You can check the film’s Facebook page for more details. And you can check FilmTagger for something similar but hopefully better.