As a lover of film, as well as a critic of sorts, there can be very few more frustrating things than sitting through a film that has plenty to offer – and clear talent on display – but that just doesn’t quite make the grade.

That’s The Village In The Woods really – a solid, well-made effort that I happily sat through, but that just didn’t have enough about it to recommend.

Billed as a folk horror and a ‘love letter to 70s cinema’, the film trundles down a very familiar path with little in the way of surprise (even though it would appear the makers feel differently).

Things start off relatively promisingly, with couple Jason (Robert Vernon) and Rebecca (Beth Park) heading out into the deep, dark countryside to take ownership of a crumbling village pub. We get the ‘driving around but ending back in the same spot each time’ trope the genre enjoys, along with plenty of smoke and mist – and I MEAN plenty of it.

Wouldn’t you know though when they finally arrive, the find out the locals (led by Richard Hope and Therese Bradley) are not only more than delighted at their arrival, but they seem a pretty strange lot to boot. But, and here’s a twist, Jason and Rebecca may not exactly be who they claim themselves…

There are whiffs of some classic British films here – if you sniff hard enough you may pick up the scent of The Wicker Man, although the film bears more resemblance (to begin with anyway) to 2013’s In Fear.

The main problem here though is that very little happens and the film’s payoff is pretty obvious – but it takes far too long to get there.

Writer-director Raine McCormack clearly knows the genre well, and offers up a couple of scares as well as plenty of atmosphere. Too often though mist is used as a crutch, when you really want everybody involved to just get on with it.

Vernon and Park make a good lead couple and refrain from sliding into the ‘why on earth would they have done that’ antics that so often hamper genre offerings, while Hope and Bradley clearly relish dialling up the menace.

The Village In The Woods is certainly watchable, but nothing you will remember long after the credits roll.

Movie Review: The Village In The Woods
3.0Overall Score
Reader Rating: (2 Votes)

About The Author

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Simon is a journalism tutor in London, who also just happens to be a movie fanatic, with a craving for the darker side of cinema. He has written three books - on the horror films of director Bob Clark (2014), the history of the character Norman Bates (2015) and the work of British exploitation director Pete Walker (2017). He is currently working with director Richard Loncraine to explore all avenues in a bid to orchestrate the re-release of 1978 Mia Farrow chiller Full Circle