Jarv’s Schlock Vault: The Woods

Listen very closely, fire-crotch

Jarv’s Rating: 1 Chang- polished and clearly accomplished, but unfortunately more boring than golf.

This film has taught me three valuable lessons that I shall forever carry with me: 1) Bruce Campbell makes an awful lot of shit, 2) Witchcraft movies are fundamentally boring, and 3) PG13 horror is a complete and utter waste of time. I did, admittedly, already suspect this, but it was nice to have it confirmed for the small price of 2 hours of my life that I’m not going to get back.

This film is obscenely overrated, and I’m almost certain that it is because it is Lucky McKee’s follow up to his grossly overrated May. The studio knew they had a dog on their hands, so did their best to bury it, but it did eventually see the light of day on DVD. Sometimes the studios do know what they’re doing. When I was doing my cursory research into this (well trying to find naked pictures of Agnes Bruckner) I read hundreds of reviews of this and almost all of them were hugely laudatory. I can only assume that I saw a different film to everyone else, because the film I saw is staggeringly lame, impressively dull, completely without atmosphere, hackneyed to the point of irrelevance, and a complete waste of Bruce.

The Woods is set in the 1960’s at a boarding school somewhere in America. It is run by a coven, and the witches are in thrall to the spirits of the less-than-spooky forests that surround the school. New girl, Heather, has been exiled to this soulless environment by her parents for setting fires, but it turns out that she is the key pupil with magic powers that the witches have been waiting for to complete the ritual and allow the spirits of the woods life. What this actually involves are a few less than spooky incidents, a couple of tedious deaths, and a climax as forced as a hooker’s fake orgasm.

This is clearly a polished film. There’s an impressive sheen to it, and it is a highly professional production. All the acting is good (Patricia Clarkson in particular) although Agnes Bruckner’s default expression seems to be some kind of grumpy scowl. The Chin is his usual professional self in this, and he far outshines everyone else on camera- however, he’s just not in it enough to maintain interest.

That will do complementing this piece of shit, it’s time to take an axe to it.

This is a boring film. It completely fails to generate anything resembling atmosphere, as they think that the setting is in itself intrinsically frightening. It should be, but McKee didn’t utilise it properly. There’s no point whatsoever setting a film in a creepy house in a creepy wood if you then spend the vast majority of the film in the daylight watching the principal character in lessons or at lunch. This is no way to build atmosphere. Furthermore, the witches have unintentionally comedic character traits that are obviously meant to be sinister, but are actually just laughable. One in particular twitches between sentences- this is not frightening.

To make matters worse, this is a PG13 horror film. Therefore atmosphere is absolutely paramount as there is going to be  nothing in the way of gore. McKee (or the studio) made the decision to go for this rating, whereas there are moments in this film where gore is clearly required (one involves an axe). So we’ve got no gore and no tension- I can only state that The Woods is an abject failure as a horror film.

Also, the writing in the film is absolutely terrible. There are vast swathes of repeated dialogue, unlikely character behaviour, it’s grossly predictable, and there are sequences that just are insultingly obvious.

This is a short review, because there is nothing of interest in this film to talk about, and I don’t want to redundantly state “this is boring” until the reader gives up, so overall, would I recommend it? Absolutely not. If you really must watch a PG13 horror film then I’m sure there are better examples out there than this obscenely overrated turdfest.

I honestly haven’t outright disliked a film as much as this one for a long time- it’s just a dire and pointless film. After this and May, it will be a long fucking time before I watch a film with the words “directed by Lucky McKee” on it- I’ve honestly got better things to watch (such as The Pit) than this, which I stand a good chance of actually enjoying or at the very worst getting a few laughs out of.

This film is shit.

Until next time,


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About Jarv

Workshy cynic, given to posting reams of nonsense on the internet and watching films that have inexplicably got a piss poor reputation.

24 responses to “Jarv’s Schlock Vault: The Woods”

  1. Droid says :

    I honestly haven’t outright disliked a film as much as this one for a long time

    24 hours is a long time?

    Never heard of this and after reading this review it will be promptly forgotten. Nice one.

  2. Droid says :

    Also, whats with the “why do people keep doing this to me?” tag?

    If you enter the gents and put your penis in the glory hole, you have to expect something will happen, so either stop whinging or stop doing it.

  3. ThereWolf says :

    Most importantly you didn’t tell us if you found any pictures of Agnes Bruckner naked.

  4. Hawaiian Organ Donor says :

    I haven’t even heard about this one. Life is too short to waste your time of stuff like this.

  5. koutchboom says :

    I feel like this is my fault for not warring your before hand about it. I had pretty much just forgetten about it. I saw it about a year ago and for the life of me couldn’t even begin to explain to you the plot.

    I still like May though, thats the whole reason I rented this.

  6. Stuntcock Mike says :

    Jarv watches shit like this so we don’t have to.

    Don’t worry man, all will be healed with the glory of VICE SQUAD!


    I didn’t think this movie was that bad. Its not very good, and its entirely forgettable, but its a helluva lot better than that fucking embarrassment ‘My Name Is Bruce’. And funnily, Bruce’s scenes are the very worst moments of the film. He stands out like some fucking goofball suffocated by the actual actors around him.

    Its pretty side how I’ve pretty much completely turned around on him in recent years. But if it came down to me having to sit through The Woods, My Name Is Bruce, Man With The Screaming Brain, or Alien Apocalypse– I would take The Woods, its the only one that sorta resembles an actual film.

    And I don’t know what you’re talking about with the PG-13, is this more England Police-State Censorship? The version I have is R and there is a fair amount of gore toward the end.


    and how is it overrated?

    Pretty much everyone who sees it says its dull, and almost every review you find tells it to go fuck itself.

    • Jarv says :

      Danny- Google it. I promise you, nearly every review wanks itself senseless over it. I’d never even heard of it before I saw it, and I was fucking astounded at the level of blowing that this film gets.

      • Jarv says :

        For example:

        “The Woods” plays like a classic Lewton film of the ’40’s, where the emphasis was on telling a good yarn without much ado and wrapping it up in a tightly wound 70 minutes. ”

        Look at Rotten Tomatoes.

  9. kloipy says :

    great review Jarv, I for one never got the whole Lucky Mckee thing. I thought May was, at times, decent, but his Masters of HOrror entry and this just were pitifull to be honest.

  10. xiphos0311 says :

    VICE SQUAD fixes all movie sins.

    If you disagree Ramrod will beat you with his Pimping stick.

  11. Continentalop says :

    Witchcraft movies are boring, but that doesn’t mean there hasn’t been some great Witchcraft movies. Curse of the Demon comes to mind, and so does Night of the Eagle.
    And hey, both are English productions. I think the lesson is that the Brits have to make them (final evidence, THE WICKER MAN).

  12. Tom_Bando says :

    It sounds pretty bad. Pass.

  13. herr milflover says :

    The Craft was a pretty good witch movie….. okay not really, but the girls were hot and therefore made it tolerable.

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