The Village in the Woods – Film Review
Director: Raine McCormack
Cast: Robert Vernon, Beth Park, Therese Bradley
by Roger Crow / @RogerCrow
I love a good low budget British chiller when it’s well put together. Sadly for every Kill List, Await Further Instructions and Hellraiser, there are dozens which aim at greatness but fall way short of the mark.
The Village in the Woods begins with a young couple seeking a pub they’ve inherited in a fog-shrouded wood. She looks a bit like Holby City’s Rosie Marcel. He reminds me of Joe Wilkinson. They’re out of petrol and lost, so wisely sleep in the car until morning. Sadly she doesn’t get much sleep because she’s cold, though both of them putting their hoods up apparently seems like a stupid idea.
The good news is they’re seemingly on the doorstep of where they need to be, and happen upon a posh local woman. Think am dram Faye Dunaway circa Supergirl era and you get the idea.
Anyway, after an awkward meeting and some weirdly inappropriate laughing from ’Faye’, Brad and Janet, sorry, ’Rosie and Joe’, turn down the offer of breakfast; take a Jerry can of fuel back to their car, and when that doesn’t work, are forced to return to ’Faye’s’ house. It seems she’s having a bit of fun upstairs, which leads to schoolboyish giggles from ‘Joe Wilkinson’ as he debriefs ‘Rosie Marcel’.
As fog machines work overtime out of shot, and creepy set-ups are exploited with yawnsome predictably, I begin to lose the will to live.
Our heroine keeps promising to leave, but like this tormented viewer, is destined to stay for the duration. I share her pain.
What follows is easily one of the worst films of the year. There’s the odd dream sequence which foreshadows what’s to come. A lame mix of Rosemary’s Baby and The Devil Rides Out, with not enough material to cover 45 minutes let along the 80-minute running time.
I so wanted to be impressed as the saga dragged on, and there are flashes when it looks like things are going to get going, but the villains’ endless laughter to emphasise how twisted they are is nails-down-a-blackboard irritating.
Do yourself a favour and dig out a copy of classic late 1970s saga Children of the Stones to see how a great pagan-inflected chiller should be made. This is about as scary as an episode of Scooby-Doo, and half as entertaining.