There seems to be a bunch of recent films where Millennials fight Baby-boomer cult members. At the same time, this is not new but it’s a recent trend that even seems to make homage to late 60’s and early 70’s classics like Rosemary’s Baby and The Wicker Man. Even when inspiration comes from the big classics, it depends on its own to stand out and be bigger and better. In this case, The Village In The Woods is like a kite riding the wind— it starts flying mightily until a tree comes along and ruins the momentum. But, can we blame the wind, the tree or the person guiding the kite?
Rebecca (Beth Park) and Jason (Robert Vernon) arrive to a village to claim an Inn inherited by Rebecca’s recently deceased aunt. Once they arrive at the village, they encounter a set of very empathetic strangers which, by the progress of the evening, seem to become weirder as if they had ulterior motives. But, to the surprise of the viewer, Rebecca also has a hidden agenda— her real name is Nikki. Will she get a chance to sell the Inn before the strangers try to sell her soul? Find out in the lush and endearing finale of The Village In The Woods.
While it may seem that I am making fun of the way they have developed the plot to such a degree it looks like a soap opera from the 80s, I am only remarking what makes it good, and that is their well-formed script. Even though the outcome leaves much to be desired for the hasty way in which they tried to tie up the loose ends, The Village In The Woods could’ve been a great indie folk mystery horror film— sadly, it feels flat where it should be the strongest.
The ambient is dry, heavy and of doubtful stability— it makes a gorgeous aesthetic if you ignore the excess of fog. In addition to this, the old characters make a very great contrast by being friendly and empathetic — it makes a lot of difference to what is captured since it is an obvious factor that reveals the outcome of the story ahead of time; and this is one of the problems. There are so many details during the first act that could’ve been more useful to set along the way to turn it into a shocking festival of revelations but instead it delivers a cluster of obvious clues.
The final two acts of the film are very much rushed, probably because they axed every tree down and forgot to build something, making it feel a little unlikeable and predictable since the writing’s been on the wall from the first ten minutes.
The Village In The Woods, as mentioned before, could’ve been great but it has some elements that sort of ruins the mystical experience of the film— it betrays itself by excessively defining its nature from the beginning instead of leaving some things in the dark for the sake of mystery, but it foolishly takes out chunks of elements that could clarify the ending and may leave the viewer with a wasteful aftertaste.
4 OUT OF 10 BONE CROWNS