Kirsten Armstrong, Amanda Benoit, Aj Brisson, Mikey Brisson, Gary Buffitt DIRECTED BY
Ryan Byrne, Danial O'Brien SCREENPLAY
Ryan Byrne, Hannah Craig, Danial O'Brien MPAA RATING
NR (Equiv. to "R") RUNNING TIME
85 Mins. DISTRIBUTED BY
Wild Eye Releasing DISTRIBUTOR WEBSITE
Canadian indie horror project Grim Woods arrives on VOD this month with Wild Eye Releasing, a growing name on the indie scene with a special eye for unique and occasionally disturbing low-budget horror flicks.
Unfortunately, Grim Woods is a rare Wild Eye miss.
Shot in 17 days and on a $10,000 budget, Grim Woods has a screenplay that captured the 2017 iHorror Award for "Best Horror Screenplay." The film takes a familiar horror set-up, a summer camp where four camp counselor's have gathered on the last night of camp telling each other stories from an ancient book that one of the counselors had confiscated earlier in the day from a camper. As you probably expect, the stories in the book begin to come to life.
Grim Woods is grim indeed, a disappointing effort at a retro-styled horror flick that seems like it wants to go the way of 80's horror yet sets itself within a book of ancient tales that somehow contains surprisingly contemporary stories like the film's first story involving a babysitter and a seemingly sadistic clown.
The acting is abysmal across the board, from the first moments when we hear campground variations of Bob and Doug McKenzie to several of the performers, all of whom will remain unnamed to protect their dignity, who try so hard to sell the horror of it all that you can't help but laugh.
In case you're wondering, you're not supposed to be laughing.
Co-directed by Ryan Byrne and Danial O'Brien, Grim Woods features an original score that brings to mind older and better slasher flicks while the film's audio mix exists somewhere between "not bad" and the Burger King drive-thru. The lensing is spot-on perfect for those who prefer their boobs blurry.
Grim Woods is honestly a challenging film to review, a film that shows some promise but never lives into that promise. While one can easily say "Well, dude. They only had $10,000 to work with!," as a longtime critic for the indie scene there's simply no denying that I've seen much better films made for much less. Grim Woods has a few moments where there's a hint of a spark, a glimpse of what might have been and that makes it an all that much more disappointing effort.
I'm an absolute fan of Wild Eye Releasing, but Grim Woods is closer to horrible than horror.