Madonna. Cher. Gandhi. Voldemort. One must possess a certain level of talent or notoriety to be known by a single name. Oftentimes like-minded powerhouses will team up under a signature name so the world can recognize their work. The Beatles. The Backstreet Boys. The Weinstein Brothers. The Vicious Brothers. The Boxleitner Brothers. The Bloomquist Brothers. I mean, Bloomquist is a pretty incredible last name to begin with and the brothers, Erik and Carson, are making a huge impact in the world of horror. I’m already keen to their talent due to their 2015 short film, Ghost Tour. Since then, the brothers went on to create and direct the Emmy Award winning series “The Cobblestone Corridor,” and I was left to wonder if they’d return to the darker side of horror ever again. Well, as luck would have it, Erik and Carson have indeed returned to us with a new short film titled She Came From the Woods. It’s an enormously successful mash-up of Friday the 13th and The Blair Witch Project, and I have to say they’ve definitely stepped their game way up in just two years.
To describe She Came From the Woods, again, picture The Blair Witch Project occurring within the realm of Friday the 13th; short shorts, rowdy camp counselors, a leech filled lake, etc. A small group of camp workers have gathered for a night of relaxation around the bonfire, but the forest is certainly not at rest tonight. Their location just so happens to be the spot of a local urban legend involving a witch, her medically inclined means of experimentation, and her vengeance that cannot be quenched. After telling the story of Ester, the counselors split up for the night and are horrified to discover that the witch’s tale is far from fable. Now that her spirit’s been awoken, she’s out to get the souls of those who disturbed her. Justin Andrew Davis, Ehad Berisha, Peyton Michelle Edwards, Olivia Helaine, John Pope, Kristen Anne Ferraro and Eric Consolazio star in this short film written, directed, produced and edited by The Bloomquist Brothers.
Judging by my tone, I think it’s very clear that I loved this short film. She Came From the Woods was absolutely invigorating and rejuvenated my interest in horror during a month when the genre is completely over-saturated with hits and misses. It’s the perfect Halloween treat and it was impeccably produced from start to finish. I’ll talk about this one from a production standpoint before addressing the elements of terror. My notes are filled with annotations like “cinematography on point,” “perfect audio” and “style and design compliments story.” She Came From the Woods is easily one of the best looking short films of 2017 and is a contender for multiple awards in the film festival circuit. I’m not sure what the budget for this one was, but it looks like it was shot with top dollar equipment and, if it were longer, could easily fit in on movie screens around the world. Outside of The Bloomquist Brothers, I’d love to give DP Thomson Nguyen and production designer Layla Calo-Baird a lot of credit for helping to craft something that is quite literally void of any errors. Also, this is one of the few short films out there that effortlessly captures a retro horror vibe without sacrificing quality and avoiding camp.
She Came From the Woods is effortlessly scary and is guaranteed to bring viewers back to a better time in horror history. Telling the legend of Ester around a campfire was such an enticing device that is a sure-fire way to grab your attention from the start. As soon as the camp counselors stereotypically part ways for the evening, you just know the villain is going to pop up and slaughter them one by one. The deaths aren’t as cut and dry as you’d expect in a short film like this, but a lot of effort was put into the special effects and gnarly death sequences. She Came From the Woods builds its suspense to a gratifying culmination of action and blood teeming with old school nostalgia. The body count is pretty decent, but you know what? I was so blown away by the directing, the camera work, the design, the story, the acting, and just about every aspect of this mini-movie that I wouldn’t have even minded a low kill count. It was icing on the cake that I was already enjoying.
Without a doubt She Came From the Woods will be included in my Top 10 of 2017 list .I cannot rave about this one enough. I know I’ve used this word before, but She Came From the Woods truly is the perfect horror short. If I had to register a complaint, my only one would be that I wish it was longer. My hope for the future is that The Bloomquist Brothers revisit this idea and adapt it to a feature length film or even a short sequel. A perfect Halloween treat that is destined to be a gigantic hit at film festivals, this is must see horror at its finest. I’m completely blown away to the point of rambling now, so instead I’m going to give this one last watch. So good! So, so good! OK. Now I’m done.
Final Score: 10/10