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The UK's answer to the Blair Witch,
This review is from: A Night in the Woods [DVD] (DVD)
It's amazing that this film was ever made. Not because it's particularly bad, but simply because I can't imagine the sales pitch that financed it. It must have gone along the lines of: `A Night in the Woods is a film that's shot entirely from the point of view of a single camera operator and is about three friends who go hiking in the woods, only to get picked off by an evil witch.'
Surely the studio executive listening to that pitch would have said, `Yeah, but... isn't that the Blair Witch Project?' And they'd be right. Only this one is made in England. Otherwise it's pretty similar.
As I say, it's not as bad as it could be. The three characters are pretty amusing and there's a fair bit of UK vs US banter between the English girl and her American boyfriend, plus they're pretty realistic in the way they all interact. Then there's the scenery. The film is a decent advert for the English countryside, showing some really scenic shots of Dartmoor. These become increasingly creepy as the night vision techniques are used.
However, from a promising start, we're soon treated to a pub-load of country bumpkins that happen to tell them sinister tales, foretelling what's to come (ala every other film of this type). Then, after a long build up with nothing vaguely supernatural happening, odd things start to occur (and one of the three vanishes mysteriously, again, just like Blair Witch).
I thought that perhaps it shouldn't have been filmed from the first-person and the film-makers should have stuck with a more simple approach. At least that way it would be a little less like Blair Witch. Plus, and I hope people won't think that this is too much like a spoiler, but the very first shot of the film is text explaining that these three people were never seen again and this footage has been edited together to `explain' it. I found that this kind of removed the tension as to who might or might not survive. If you know all three are never going to be seen again, it does kind of take away some of the mystique.
If Blair Witch was never made, this might have been thought of more highly. As it is, A Night in the Woods is sadly little more than a poor copy of a better film. It's not bad, but it's hardly worth seeking out, unless you're really into these `first person' films.