Judge Daryl Loomis would've rather scratched out his eyes.
Something wicker this way comes.
One has to make a lot of concessions when watching low-grade independent movies, be they horror movies or other genres. The experience and artistry generally isn't there, acting is usually pretty poor, and special effects, if they're included, are really shoddy. I still watch them and can enjoy them, in spite of their faults, but there's one element that has to be present for enjoyment to take place: fun. Now, I've certainly sat through and liked plenty of movies I had no fun with, because I could otherwise appreciate the cinematic or story qualities (say Lars Von Trier's Antichrist or anything by Andrei Tarkovsky), but bottom end genre pictures don't have that luxury. Those movies have to be fun, and do you know what isn't any fun? Eyes of the Woods.
Back in the puritan times, a man named Wicker lost his daughter to some kind of disease. Cursing God and selling his soul to Satan, he is transformed into a blood-thirsty monster forced to wander the forest looking for victims. After ravaging his town, we flash forward to the present day and a group of teens entering the woods on a camping trip. They're quickly lost and, if they can't find their way out, they'll soon become the next victims of the Wicker Monster.
Eyes of the Woods takes a tired opening sequence about devil business in the past and attaches it to an even more tired plot about kids getting picked off in the woods. Combined, it's one seriously tired movie. In every way, it's terrible. From the amateurish acting and sloppy editing to the cruddy direction, it's as bad as it gets on all levels. Is it the worst thing I've ever seen? Certainly not, but it's as bad as it has gotten for me in a while.
The 75 minutes feels like an eternity; heck, that opening sequence feels like 75 minutes itself and, once that's done, we still have nearly an hour to go. That hour, then, feels like punishment. With three directors: Darrin Reed, F. Miguel Valenti, and Mark Villalobos, all in their first film, one might think there would be a good idea or two running around, but no, there's truly nothing to see here. It seems they had fun making it, but that's the best I can hope for. Boring and badly put together, it's a true chore to watch, one that I'm sorry I put myself through.
It's fitting that the DVD is as poor as the movie. Presented by Central Film, Eyes of the Woods looks genuinely awful. It features an anamorphic 1.78:1 transfer, but it looks as bad as a constantly redubbed VHS tape. The colors are awful and the source material looks to have been covered in dust and mud before its transfer. The sound isn't quite so bad, but it's not particularly good, either. There's a constant light hiss that is a little distracting, but not too bad, but there's no dynamic range and the dialog is far too loud in the mix. The disc claims to feature extras like a commentary and a featurette, but they were not present on the disc I received, which appears to be a retail copy. Believe me that I'm not complaining about that.
Eyes of the Woods is just plain bad in every way, shape, and form. If there's anything positive to say, it's that there is some passion behind it. If only there was a little bit of talent and skill…
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Studio: Fade to Black Films
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