David: Hello, and welcome to another DFP review. Today’s horror film is a short sent to us by director Erik Bloomquist. It’s called She Came From the Woods, and it’s IMDB link is here. It’s told in a campfire story format, featuring the classic of horror cliches, teenagers. Erik stated that one of the influences for the format of the film was Nickelodeon’s Are You Afraid of the Dark?, which I would also count as a horror influence for me.
Actor John Pope does a lot of the heavy lifting, at least in the beginning of the story. He’s the one that tells the initial story of Esther in a bloody, gory, fashion. The story is part camp slasher/part ghost story, and is more than reminiscent of Friday the 13th. But there’s also some pretty good supernatural scenes on top of everything.
Shannon, did you enjoy She Came From the Woods?
Shannon: Yes, I would definitely say that I enjoyed She Came From the Woods. I would have liked it more if it were a featured-length film, because I felt like everything that happened, happened so suddenly and quickly. The whole ghost story around the camp fire that turns into a murderous night in the mess hall, it was very entertaining.
I agree with you about John Pope, he has a lot of the dialogue, and even the scene in the lake was mostly him. Everything after that seemed rushed, but it’s a short film so the filmmakers only have so much time to work with.
I also liked Esther. David, what did you think about the very last scene with her in it? Kind of reminded me of Insidious.
David: I agree that the whole thing, once it got going, moved a bit fast overall. I think a few breaths in the action would have really benefited the film overall, because it would have allowed more tension to build. I did really like the format and the structure of everything, just would have preferred a longer third act.
I enjoyed the story of her, and the interpretation of her as well. Insidious is a good comp, another one that I thought of was the Lights Out woman. It’s difficult to give your creature who is a murderous entity a unique look, but considering you only see her briefly, I’ll give it a pass.
One thing that really impressed me with this was the sound. Along the campfire scene, you hear the fire pop at very specific moments. You hear the sounds of the woods, again, with excellent timing. It’s a great example of using the natural sounds to build suspense in an organic way.
Did you notice these things, or were they so under the radar you didn’t realize them?
Shannon: I can’t say I noticed them at the time I was watching the film, but now that you mentioned it I can totally see what you mean. It’s always great when the film uses these aspects to help add to the story and the sheer “horror” of it all. During the camp fire scene, the only aspect that really made it “scary” for me was the teenage boy that was too scared to say her name, played by Justin Andrew Davis. With all his friends trying to peer pressure him into doing it, and then laughing as they did it, he still knew something wasn’t right.
Other than Justin and John, were there any other characters who stuck out to you?
David: Not really. The only thing that I really disliked about all the characters was the girl who had asthma and died in like a second. I understand they were probably up against their intended run time, but that was a bit too quick for my taste, particularly with how gruesomely some of the others had been killed.
Overall, I thought that this was a great building block into a larger story. The mythology of it, through familiar, is still unique enough that you would be interested in going into the rest of the story. I think I’m going to give the overall short a “B”. What would you rate it Shannon?
Shannon: Funny that you mention her, because I was just looking at a still of her and the camp counselor and wondering how she died. Completely forgot about that. I know what you mean about it happening so fast, but it goes along with the others happening so quickly as well. I mean, we don’t even see the girl in the kitchen die, we just see her dead.
I also think that this a great start to an even bigger story, and frankly I’d like to see this film in a bigger capacity. It’s very similar to Friday the 13th, but still has a ghostly, eerie feel about it. I’m going to go with a “liked it” rating for this one. (4/5).
Check out the trailer here.
David and Shannon write about movies.