She Came from the Woods is the second recent theatrical release that I’m excited to talk about. Let me grab your interest with just three words: Summer. Camp. Slasher. Now that I have your attention, let’s dive into the reasons why this one is a standout.
Set in 1987, this film already has nostalgia working in its favor. It’s the story of a group of camp counselors that unleash a forty-year-old curse on their last night of the season.
I know this may sound all too familiar, but there’s enough uniqueness to make it worth your while. Yes, this one follows in the footsteps of Friday the 13th. She Came from the Woods honors its predecessors without being a rip-off.
Camp Briarbrook is a family affair, run by the grandfather of one of the counselors, Peter (Spencer List). Peter’s mother, Heather McCallister (Cara Buono), and his brother, Shawn (Tyler Elliot Burke) play integral roles in the camp’s day-to-day activities.
When the curse is unleashed, the typical slasher mayhem ensues and no one is safe, including the children. After the carnage begins, Peter learns—a bit too late—that he and his friends have unleashed a curse upon the grounds. It turns out several family members knew of the threat. And in their attempts to protect him from their haunted past, they unknowingly put the power to revive the evil directly in Peter’s hands.
This movie is a great deal of fun and it fits the B-horror comedy bill perfectly. There are some deliberately corny moments that are a must in this subgenre that are nicely balanced by plenty of heart and humor.
There’s a dash of star power with the addition of Cara Buono (Stranger Things) and veteran actor William Sadler as the patriarch, Gilbert McCallister. The family storyline adds a dash of endearment and necessary empathy for the audience.
On the flip side, the kills are creative and the special effects are solid for a lower-budget film. There are quite a few shocking, gross-out moments that are essential to a slasher story.
The film is a throwback to the ’80s without being over-the-top. Sometimes these flicks can take it too far with the slang and the wardrobe, but this one was low-key with some great ’80s tunes dropped in the soundtrack here and there.
There’s a perfect level of campy humor and the counselors all fit the typical stereotypes you’d expect in a cast of teen characters.
Between My Best Friend’s Exorcism and She Came from the Woods, we’ve had two solid ’80s themed horror films in the last six-months. This has me optimistic for what’s in store for the genre as we’re only two-months into the new year.
She Came from the Woods is available now, exclusively in theaters.
WICKED RATING: 8/10