The Woods (2006)
By: Markus Zussner on December 4, 2006  |  Comments  |  Bookmark and Share
Sony (Australia). Region 2, 4, 5 PAL. 2.35:1 (16:9 enhanced). English DD 5.1, French DD 5.1, German DD 5.1, talian DD 5.1, Spanish DD 5.1. English, English (FHI), French, German, Italian, Spanish, Dutch, Arabic Hindi, Portuguese, Turkish Subtitles. 87 minutes
The Movie
Director: Lucky McKee
Starring: Agnes Bruckner, Patricia Clarkson, Rachel Nichols, Lauren Birkell, Emma Campbell, Bruce Campbell
Screenplay: David Ross
Music: John Frizzell, Jaye Barnes Luckett
Tagline: Every high school has its secrets...
Country: USA
The Woods is the latest effort from Director Lucky McKee who gave us May and directed the Sick Girl story in Season One of the Masters of Horror series.

It will be evident to those who have seen Suspiria that The Woods coincidentally (or not) borrows a little from the storyline of Dario Argento's 1979 Horror classic. The story is set in 1965 New England where, after trying to burn her mum and dads house down, troubled and gifted teen redhead Heather Fasulo (played by Agnes Bruckner from Venom) is taken by her parents to the prestigious Falburn Academy all-girls boarding school as a last ditch effort to sort out her ill-behaviour. Nothing wrong with a girl who wants to burn her folks house down, is there? The school is situated way out in the middle of nowhere in a creepy old forest that has a few restless spirits hanging around just waiting for anyone who happens to venture in.

The boarding school is run under the menacing watchful eye of Headmistress Traverse (played by Patricia Clarkson from The Green Mile at her most subtly sinister). The rest of the teachers and staff are equally sinister and bizarre and it doesn't take long for Heather to realise that they don't have all their faculties in one basket. Heather thinks that all she has to do is cause a little trouble and they'll just kick her out and mum and dad will pick her up and take her home. Wrong! Headmistress Traverse takes a liking to the gifted ones and Heather certainly is one of those. Heather has the uncanny ability to make objects defy gravity with her mind, putting her on the top of Mistress Traverse's favourites list. What Heather will soon discover is that the Falburn Academy is run by a convent of very old Witches that are rooted down to the location. They cannot leave the grounds unless they have some new bodies to possess and this cannot be done without the manipulation of the unwilling yet helpless gifted students. On top of all that, student ring leader and bad girl Samantha Wise (played by Rachel Nichols from The Amityville Horror remake) takes a real disliking to Heather and aptly gives her the scalding nickname of "fire-crotch", likely because of her natural red hair and the fact that she's a bit of a fire bug. Some of the best and most memorable moments of The Woods are where Heather and Samantha bitch and fight it out and there's plenty of that going on.

There are other gifted students at the Falburn Academy like Heathers newfound friend Marcy Turner, a girl with a hauntingly beautiful and supernatural singing voice. The gifted ones soon start to go missing and Heather realises that she will likely be the next student to appear on the back of a milk carton. Heather steps into action and calls up Dad (played by Bruce Campbell (Yaaaaay!) from The Evil Dead) requesting backup, and before you can say "Join Us" he's on his way to the rescue. Will Heather escape the clutches of the evil woods? Can fire-crotch burn down the house and save the others and herself from the beastly Mistress Traverse and her entourage of psycho Witch teachers? Will Ash, I mean Mr Fasulo, get there in time to chainsaw up the evil forest and rescue his lovely daughter? Not gonna tell. This one's definitely for the teens.
Crisp, clean and clear picture quality for both day and night scenes. Glossy colours give The Woods a very slick and polished look. A great use of lighting for the interiors creates a cosy but false sense of safety. Write home to mama.
The Woods comes with Dolby Digital English 5.1, French 5.1, German 5.1, Spanish 5.1 and Italian 5.1 audio options. It's the minimal standard one would expect from a 5.1 Digital soundtrack on a movie produced in the 21st century. Sound is crystal clear but seems to be mixed for dialogue rather than audio SPFX. If it's the howling of the wind through trees, snapping of twigs and branches or the crunch of an axe slamming through someone's head coming out at you from the speakers and bouncing around the walls in your room, then you may be a little disappointed. Nonetheless, clear sound quality with no audio hiss or dropout. Nothing really to write home to mama about.
Extra Features
Trailers for The Da Vinci Code, RV, Ultraviolet, Zathura, and Population 436.
The Verdict
The Woods is a fun horror movie. Creepy rather than scary, the story is engaging and well written with great performances from all the cast. If you don't expect to have the daylights scared out of you then you should enjoy The Woods for what its worth. The Woods is an enjoyable passer of time, and puts Agnes Bruckner on the list for 'New School Scream Queen'. Director Lucky McKee has made a great film, but it's not enough to earn him the title of 'Master of Horror' just yet. Maybe he might get lucky next time.
Movie Score
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