Hey gang, Valkor here. And I’m taking a little E3 2014 break to check out a couple of films sitting in the old MediaView pile. This round I'm choosing to go at random and while I’m not exactly OK with my first selection, I’m not disappointed either. I mean at least “Into the Woods”, a film based on true events and diected by Hadrian Hooks, has some nice candy. And it’s short. Read on and major spoilers ahead.
“Into the Woods” centers on six friends - Alex (Shawn O’Malley), David (Sean Riggs), Joe (Hadrian Hooks), Crystal (Jenn Pinto), Stacy (Ava Brunini – Solid State), and Keisha (Laila Odom) who venture off into the woods of Hollywood Hills. The reason being, friend Mark (William Cannon) makes a bet with Alex that he wouldn’t be able to stay 24 hours there. If he’s able to, Alex wins 1800 bucks, part of which would pay for Stacy’s car that he had towed earlier. The problem with these woods is that there’s an urban legend attached; sometime before, four marines ventured through the woods in search of treasure. They went crazy with two winding up dead, one possibly escaped and the final soldier still stalks about killing and eating anyone who just happen to be passing through. What happens to the six is linked to a string of murders and missing persons that has happened in those woods of late, followed up with an actual news of a gruesome discovery of body parts found in the area.
If you happened to look this up and were expecting that fairy tale fantasy musical based on Grimm’s Fairy tales, then you’ll discover you’re way off the mark. This version of "Into the Woods" is anything but cute, with nary a catchy musical number. But does it have enough to hold your attention?
Thankfully “Into the Woods” isn’t as terrible as I would have expected; the story is pieced together nicely, connecting all the dots leading up to the demise of the six friends; there are a few holes, but nothing that will stretch your brains cells thinking about them. It does start out a bit rough, but when the killings start then it’s on and it doesn’t stop until the last body drops… or we’re led to believe that everyone has died. But everyone dies just FYI. The killer (played by Darius Frye) gets a nod for staying in the shadows much of the time (you barely even see the dude’s face) and being the kind of vicious slasher beast that doesn’t hold back. When I do another round of Top Movie Monster/Slashers, me thinks I'll be adding him to the list. The acting is just OK, though it could be better considering this isn’t the first rodeo for some of the actors. But they actors carry the film well enough to get you through to that bitter end. Finally PerfectView nod goes to Jenn Pinto; now don’t get me wrong, I thought all the girls were freaking gorgeous, but there’s something special about Jenn... those eyes, them legs, that look... she sorta stirs up a little something something in the loins of Val… just sayin.
Into the Woods is a typical, paint by the numbers horror that would have probably been better without the “based on true events” attached. Why? Then you open up the possibility of starting your own slasher franchise… oh wait, killing campers in the woods? Sort of been there, done that right? Then again there is a part two in the works. And I’m very curious how that will play out. But as a horror film, don't expect anything special or new ground being broken here. I get the idea behind mixing the narrative with a little found film footage, but the footage doesn't lead to anything - not even someone finding the footage to kinda piece together what happened. In short, it could have done without. And how about those holes I mentioned before? One of Mark's friends who was sent up there to scare the campers is captured by the killer. He attempts to make a phone call but by the sound of the buttons he presses, he only pushed two. At the end of the film Mark receives a message full of screams. Question: who made the call? Finally, I didn’t have a care in the world about the campers or the situation that put them there. And quite frankly, I was rooting for their deaths - each and every one. I know that sounds pretty harsh, considering it’s supposed to be based on true events, but come on! One douchy friend bets another douchy friend to spend 24 hours in an area where they could possibly be murdered? And his friends tag along? It’s like you’re asking for trouble. And oh boy did they find trouble!
David… damn dude!
You’ll have to search high and low for a copy of “Into the Woods”, but if you click that logo to the right then that’ll get you started should you have any interest in seeing this film. It’s not a terrible flick and one that makes for some good late night watching. And as it stands, out of TOV 5 stars, “Into the Woods” gets a 2.5. Yes I met it halfway and I’m rooting for director Hooks to get the backing needed to make part 2.