Alone in the Woods is a sequel to Anthony Daniel’s 2014 feature Spirit in the Woods and a continuation in the Spiritual Woods story-line. Shot under Dream Comet Studios, the film follows a group of young, private investigators who visit the forest of macabre folklore while trying to discover new clues in a cold case about a missing, ill-fated group of students who went into the woods several months prior. What they discover is something truly unholy and maybe a bit confusing. Due to some of the press materials and a kick-ass opening sequence of videos in the realm of snuff, I assumed that Alone in the Woods was going to be a found footage feature. Turns out it’s a traditional narrative that stars John French, Brookelyn Goupil, Arai, Sean Dubois Day, Angel Reed, Alicia Spurlock, Tyler W. Abron, Leigh A. Peterson, Shelby Brunn and Brian Bowman. Alone in the Woods has a common “people go into the woods, people die” story-line which is brought to screen by crystal clear camera work and cinematography from Greg Kraus and Andrew Spirk.
Unfortunately, I don’t have a lot of positive things to say about this movie. It wasn’t hard to follow as far as sequels are concerned, so any potential viewers don’t have to worry about watching Spirit in the Woods to understand this entry in the series. Mostly, the biggest problem is…Alone in the Woods is far from a horror movie. You can’t slap a “horror” category onto a title like this and expect people to accept it as something scary. If anything, Alone in the Woods reads as a bizarre, often eerie investigative drama more than a scary movie. The attempts at horror don’t start until the 45 minute mark, and even then the material never goes “there.” I was so hoping that this project was going to be better because the camera work really was amazing and the plot outline was alluring. Without an actual level of horror, this one’s just about people looking for something in the woods. Scenic and beautiful for sure, but not what I was looking for. Mood and atmosphere is integral to creating a successful horror film. The audience needs to feel the suspense and anticipation. That emotive response just isn’t here.
As a production, Alone in the Woods bounces around in terms of quality. The actors’ performances are either really good or deserving of another take. The audio levels and scores are either on point, or in need of a bit of work. Most, if not all, of the interior shots were too whited out and the girls cleaning the guns on the living room table was a laughable attempt at seriousness. What did I like? Well, I was happy to see that the cast of Alone in the Woods is multi-racial. Often in “horror” films, you get the one black guy or the one gay guy, added for supposed inclusiveness, but the cast here is 50% Caucasian and 50% African American, and I’m glad to see other races included in a more important way than “we don’t want any trouble.” Kudos to the casting director for allowing multi-racial talent to shine in this title. Hell, there’s even a main character that’s gender fluid, and that’s also something I can cheer for. However, good casting isn’t enough to give this movie a passing grade.
Alone in the Woods was produced by Anthony Daniel, Timothy Moriarty, Greg Fetekik, Kathy Fetekik and Daniel Klaus. Again, I really wanted to like this movie. Good camera work, beautiful locations, a fun story idea and a capable cast, but there’s absolutely no horror to be found here. I’d categorize it as a mystery or a dark drama instead. Sorry, Dream Comet team. Final Score: 4.5 out of 10.