Three Days in the Woods DVD Review
Written by James "Spez" Ferguson
DVD released by Mad Angel Films
Directed by Matthew A. Peters
Written by Mark Joseph Peek
2010, Region 1 NTSC, 70 minutes, Not Rated
DVD released on October 20th, 2010
Mark Joseph Peek as Darien
Erin Henry as Robbie
Melissa A. Seelman as Krista
David J. Plescia as Chris
Catherine Presite as Sheila
Michelle May Gallt as Maggie
Kenn Pagano as RJ
You'd think that after years and years of horror films where innocent twenty-somethings go out in the woods and get slaughtered that the camping industry would take a hit. Yet it's alive and well in Three Days in the Woods, the fifth movie from Mad Angel Films. Chris (David J. Plescia) is heading out to boot camp next week so his friends and sister decide to have a crazy weekend outdoors as a last hurrah. After the party gets started, the group is terrorized by some cannibalistic psychos that have been killing every other person in the forest.
Three Days in the Woods has a familiar premise that's seen in a bunch of other slasher movies. What sets this one apart is that there's little to no substance to it at all. The group gets very little backstory and there's virtually no motive for the murderers. They're killing people just because. There's no reason given. They're just crazy. The actual plot involving the campers takes up maybe half of the 70 minute running time. The rest is filled with the killers taking out random people that happen to be in the woods as well. We're not given any other info. They just happen to be there and the villains decided to kill them. For those doing the math at home, that's half "plot" and half torture porn. Those two halves make a very weak whole.
The lack of substance isn't the biggest offender here. Three Days in the Woods was clearly filmed with a digital camera. It's definitely a step up from the quality of film seen in Mad Angel Films' previous horror flick The Abandoned. Unfortunately, the creators added film grain to the entire picture. The result is a clear image that's tinted and covered in splotches that pop up all over the screen. By the look of things, the director was going for a '70s grindhouse look, but it backfired horribly. Peters isn't experienced enough at this point in his career to properly pay homage to grindhouse, and amping the contrast and blowing out the picture isn't enough to capture that '70s taste. It was a very poor choice that really hurt the movie.
Three Days in the Woods is the fifth film out of indie production company Mad Angel Films. It is also their third horror movie. Director Matthew A. Peters has been behind all of them and he showed some real promise with their second film, The Abandoned. This one feels like a step backwards, though. It's more like the group got together and thought it would be cool to do a slasher movie but didn't know what it would be about. This can be seen in some of the dialogue. Case in point, when Chris and RJ (Kenn Pagano) are looking for Chris' sister Krista (Melissa A. Seelman), Chris tells RJ "You see any fucked up shit, you fuck that shit up." That actually happened.
The Abandoned showed some real growth from Mad Angel Films’ first film Brackish, but Three Days in the Woods doesn’t help the progression of Peters and company. Woods feels like it was a rush to make, and the movie suffers for it. Peters can grow as a filmmaker, but he needs to concentrate on honing his craft with stronger scripts. The new camera is an excellent start, but it defeats the purpose if you are only going to muck it up by purposefully making the picture worse. I’m pulling for Peters, because he does have potential.
Video and Audio:
It looks like Mad Angel Films has picked up some better camera equipment as the video quality is a lot better here than in The Abandoned. Unfortunately the aforementioned added film grain really takes away from this newfound quality. The audio suffers from the same problems seen in their previous horror films in that lots of ambient noise is heard throughout each scene including wind and nearby streams.
There's a 10 minute slideshow included on the disc which takes you through some behind-the-scenes pictures. There's also a trailer for the film but that's where the features end. I would have preferred if they had another behind-the-scenes featurette as that would prove more interesting and helpful to other indie filmmakers. Rounding out the special features are 3 minutes of deleted scenes. I was surprised that there was actually something to cut out of the short running time, but the deleted scenes would have added nothing to the film.
Want to comment on this review? You can leave one below or head over to the HorrorTalk Review Forum.