Girl in Woods Movie Review
Written by Giuseppe Infante
Released by Candy Factory Films
Written and directed by Jeremy Benson
2016, 87 minutes, Rated R
Released on June 3rd, 2016
Juliet Reeves as Grace
Jeremy London as Jim
Charisma Carpenter as Momma
Lee Perkins as Daddy
John Still as Granddaddy
Grace (Juliet Reeves) and her boyfriend, Jim (Jeremy London), head to a remote cabin where he plans on popping the question. After he does, the newly engaged couple goes for a stroll through the woods. An accident occurs and Grace goes astray under the verdure canopy of Mother Nature. Simply, the movie is a about a girl lost in a lush forest. On a more complex and analytical level, Girl in Woods delves into a woman's mental and physical breakdown, as her past haunts her evermore so in this isolated state.
The viewing experience will be different for all, no matter what film is on the screen. If an Asylum flick, like 3-Headed Shark Attack, is your idea of a good 90 minutes spent, then Girl in Woods may not be for you. If nitpicking is your thing, maybe skip this one – it isn’t perfect, but it’s pretty damn good. Girl in Woods definitely falls into the slow-burn, psycho-thriller realm. Not everyone will enjoy this movie and a vast amount of viewers will not want to see an actor dominate the screen time and/or take on a multipart role; Juliet Reeves is the leading lady, playing three versions of Grace.
Basically, Grace has the angel and devil shoulders. The trio battle during her decent through moments of conciseness and temptation. This interestingly used plot device works, but at times gets clunky in the writing and execution by Reeves. For the most part, she is not an awful actress, by any means. The problem lies in monotonous, generic writing during specific scenes when Grace is talking to herself. At times this detracts from the believability, especially when she is painstakingly enduring hunger and strife, but then a flashback to her childhood occurs and the pursuit for survival continues.
Interspersed throughout her grueling experience are flashbacks and dream sequences about Grace’s childhood. Her mother (Charisma Carpenter), father (Lee Perkins) and grandfather (John Still) are recurring characters, unraveling to us who Grace really is. This works to a point, but unfortunately happens way too often. Carpenter and Perkins add to the creep-factor, as there are some amusingly haunting scenes with Grace’s parents, and ironically, scenes depicting grace with her grandfather.
An important scene in the beginning shows Grace leaving an unidentified medication at the cabin. This alludes to the cognitive undertaking she must endure presently, along with suffering childhood trauma. As time passes in the film, her physical and mental well-being deteriorates, showing to what ends a human will go to in order for survival in dire straits and the complexity of cognition and psyche.
Helping to hold Girl in Woods together is the authenticity from filming on location in an actual forest. This set choice becomes the crust around the bread, keeping the rest airy and soft. Overhead shots of the full-of-green treetops occur every once in a while, reminding viewers of the enormous terrain she is lost in. The sounds of birds chirping, water flowing and sticks cracking when she walks, in tandem with a haunting score, add quality detail to the genuine depiction of the woods. When there are no sounds and we’re presented with darkness, silence takes over the scene and adds to the tension.
A beautifully filmed feature from writer and director Jeremy Benson, Girl in Woods is attention-grabbing psychological horror. Although there are parts of the film which leave viewers with questions and nitpicks, in the end the negative factors can be overlooked and do not detract from the essence of this film. It contains many aspects for analysis, especially from a psychological standpoint. This one lurked inside my cranium for days, and it leaves inquiry for discussion. Over three acts, the film kept its hooks lodged to the mystery, especially in the third, and best, act. A strong finale wraps the film up solidly, leaving some ambiguity and room for an epilogue-like sequel.