Director – Sean Breathnach (Breathe Out, Spellbound)
Starring – John Ryan Howard (Ronanism, Mutt), Mark Lawrence (Kubrick by Candlelight, Bliain), Ross Mac Mahon (Penny Dreadful, Burning Wishes)
Release Date – 2018
Rating – 3.5/5
Irish horror is something I know a lot about but I am very familiar with it. I’ve seen a few over the years but most didn’t really stand out with me. That changed when I was in college and grabbed the movie Shrooms for $3 at Wal-Mart in their Halloween display. My friends didn’t care for it but I loved it. It was a bit of a slower burner at times but the atmosphere was amazing and then the film turned brutal. Since then I have seen and reviewed several Irish horror flicks and recently reviewed the Irish comedy The Middle Finger which was just released by Troma on blu.
Not long ago I received a press release for the Irish supernatural horror film Beyond the Woods. I really liked the poster that accompanied the film. I reached out to them and was able to secure a review copy. They were kind enough to send one my way and I’m glad they did. Thank you so much!
**Spoiler Alert**The film follows a group of young adults who go into the Irish countryside for a weekend getaway. A few miles way a sinkhole has exposed itself and has accidentally starts burning surrounding the nearby area with the odor of sulfur burning. They try to make the best of the weekend and stay indoors and drinks but a drunken night lead to a three way among friends which has upset some of the others in the group. With animosity rising between the friends they find themselves trying to leave but find the roads blocked by officials. Soon they realize that there is something much more sinister lurking in the woods other than a foul odor.**Spoiler Alert**
I didn’t know what to expect from Beyond the Woods. The film was billed as a supernatural horror film but the poster made me think it was a slasher of sorts. I’m glad that I was able to check this one out because it was a pretty damn good horror flick.
The acting in this one is very well done. The cast works very well together to create grounded characters that are not overdramatic or over the top. The characters have their own personalities and backstories. The cast does a great job bringing these to life.
The story for this one is a fun spin on a clichéd sub-genre of horror. A group of young adults in the woods while something stalks them isn’t something new or ground breaking. In fact, it follows most slashers of the 80s and even a few cabin in the wood films like Demon Wind. The addition of the giant burning sinkhole adds something different to a predictable story. I also liked the supernatural element and how the beast has a reason for killing. Bloodshed for the sake of bloodshed does tend to be boring but this one adds a little something to it.
Finally, the film does have some blood but not as much as I would have liked. I grew up on slashers and Tom Savini effects so I expect plenty of gore when a movie is set in the woods. The effects we get are solid but not enough blood to satisfy my appetite. Overall, Beyond the Woods may not break the mold but it delivers a great horror experience. I may not know a lot about Irish horror but I do know horror and this one deserves to be seen by every horror fan. Check it out.