A good horror movie can be one of those movies that can stand the test of time better than any other. While there are amazing classics in other genres, such as pure dramas, action films, sci-fi, or even fantasy, the horror genre is how the most mainstream of the speculative fiction genres. This fact results in countless people watching horror movies in the cinema or at home. These movies are cheap to make and, yet, can attract enough audience members to make them a stunning success in ways other movies cannot achieve. She Came From the Woods is a new film trying to do just that.
She Came from The Woods is a film written and directed by Erik Bloomquist. The movie stars Cara Buono, Clare Foley, Spencer List, William Sadler, and Ehad Berisha. The film tells the story of a classic summer camp preparing to say goodbye to the kids until next summer. However, the counselors’ goodbye will be cut short by something coming straight out of the woods, something evil that is looking for vengeance and finishing something it started decades ago.
She Came from The Woods is definitely trying to capture the nostalgia factor that has done projects like Stranger Things so successfully. However, the success of Stranger Things, many years after its debut, feels like it was something more akin to a miracle. Countless movies and TV shows have been trying to make the lightning strike twice by copying what Stranger Things did, and they have all failed, including She Came from The Woods. The movie is just too derivative and doesn’t feel like it has its own identity.
Without having any power characteristic that can make the movie stand out on its own, the movie becomes more like an “I don’t have anything else to watch” kind of movie. Instead of something richer and more valuable, the movie feels like something that is chasing a trend and chasing it very late, I may add. Maybe that is the kind of movie the filmmakers aimed to do, but I doubt it. She Came from The Woods feels dated in more than one way, but it still manages to have a spark of the entertainment factor, especially if you are a fan of the genre.
The performances are hit or miss, but this has more to do with the writing and the directing than the actors. The dialogue feels very weak, and the writing overall feels like a mashup of several similar movies, especially Friday the 13th and the Fear Street trilogy that Netflix released a couple of years ago. This seems like an attempt to do just that but fails because the story and the characters’ journey are not compelling enough. Most characters are treated as cannon fodder, and the ones handled as main characters are just annoying.
Movies like The Final Girls have created this type of homage and metacommentary all-in-one type of film in better ways than this. She Came from The Woods just lacks characterization, so we can draw solid images of the characters in our heads and then decide what to do with them: root for them or just pray they are the next to bite the dust. The Final Girls, for example, worked with a similar number of archetypes, but it also knew that it needed to build an emotional core for things to feel meaningful. As it is, the movie feels like a collection of scenes you know should be in it.
In terms of production quality, the movie looks just fine. The cinematography is not the best thing you have ever seen, but it makes the movie look like something that is watchable, while the sets and the rest of the locations do the job. It is easy to see that the film doesn’t have a massive set of resources to work with, and no one expects it to do some big set piece that could cost millions of dollars. However, a bit more creativity in how the sets look and in how the camera shoots the story would have gone a long way. Everything just feels too generic to make this a must-watch movie.
In the end, She Came from The Woods is an excellent way to kill some time, but only if you really need to watch something in the genre. Specifically, if you need a dose of that summer camp horror feeling from movies that were primarily made in the 80s, if you are not looking precisely for that type of movie, we could say you can give this one a pass. There are more efficient and influential horror movies out there. Bloomquist is still trying to find that movie that can take him to the next level, but to do that. He needs to level up himself first as a writer and director.