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A Night In The Woods - Review

A Night In The Woods

Review by Rob Carnevale

IndieLondon Rating: 2 out of 5

THE ideas behind A Night In The Woods are invariably more interesting than the film itself.

Based upon a real life incident involving director Richard Parry and attempting to put a new spin on the Blair Witch found footage formula, the film nevertheless still ends up suffering from a lot of the same problems that bedevil the genre in general.

First, the real life incident, which took place in Dartmoor’s Wistman’s Woods some years ago while Parry was asleep. He awoke to find a pair of hands around his throat and a stranger standing over him. A brief exchange followed before Parry passed out and wrote the incident off as a dream, only to find out later that the same story had been told by other campers over time.

Hence, A Night In The Woods places three campers in those same woods in the form of American camera enthusiast Brody (Monster‘s Scoot McNairy), his girlfriend Kerry (Anna Skellern) and her cousin Leo (Andrew Hawley).

Tensions between the three are already heightened by the time they set up camp but the ensuing night raises the stakes still higher while placing them at the whim of something possibly supernatural.

Given the over-worked nature of the found footage genre, Parry deserves some credit for tossing in a couple of successful jumps, for making good use of the eerie Dartmoor locations and for playing up the psychological thriller element to wrongfoot viewers at every opportunity.

But while you’re never quite sure where you stand with the characters and their motivations and often can’t really see what they’re doing, it gets harder and harder to root for or care about any of them.

The inevitable ending also brings nothing new to the genre and leaves you more frustrated than impressed, even though Parry maintains the ambiguous nature of the film’s supernatural element.

Hence, for all of it’s attempts to freshen up the Blair Witch formula, A Night In The Woods merely succeeds in underlining just how tired, limited and underwhelming these films have become.

Certificate: 15
Running time: 82mins
UK Release Date: September 7, 2012