Murder In The Woods feels like a classic horror film, but also brings some uniqueness to the horror genre. A whole lot of fun!
If you know me, you know I love horror movies. They don’t even have to be good movies. In fact, some of my favorite films are B rated. Murder In The Woods pleasantly surprised me, though. What I thought for sure would be a mediocre but fun horror movie, blew me away. Not only was I guessing who the killer was through most of the movie, I was on the edge of my seat while doing it.
Murder In The Woods has the typical horror movie set up. A bunch of teenagers going to camp in a cabin the woods. Alcohol and drugs are involved, there is a creepy Sheriff lurking around, and not to mention that a few couples are planning on… enjoying each others company so to speak. There is no cellphone reception and one of them has a very large hunting knife “for protection”.
Oh yeah, and it is the anniversary of one of the kids’ (Jesse) parents’ death (murder/suicide). While driving up to the cabin, the driver gets distracted and they run off the road after hitting an animal. And what better way to tie it all together than a flashback of Jesse finding his parents dead in the cabin when they get there.
I live for horror movies like this so I was super happy with this set up. My heart was pounding by the time the movie was twenty minutes in. It takes just a few more minutes for the first glimpse of what I assumed was the murderer. Two girls get in a fight over one of the guys, and one storms off. The guys go out to find her and there is a flash of someone in the window. Again, props to the amazing horror set up here.
As the movie progresses, it gets better and better. I was on the edge of my seat and second guessing everything I thought I had figured out earlier in the movie. I love that it stars all latinx actors and actresses, and even ties in a bit of the culture. You can read more about why that was important to the director and the writer below.
As a fan of horror and suspense films, I was happy that the first murder takes place before the thirty minute mark. I won’t say who, although it follows the classic horror story line. One of my biggest pet peeves in movies like this is having to wait around for the action. That was definitely not an issue with Murder In The Woods.
The musical score really helps with setting the tone of suspense — and don’t get me started on all the awesome jump scares. Overall, I really enjoyed this movie. It is a lot of fun and I really like that I wasn’t exactly sure what was going to happen. I don’t mind a predictable horror movie, but it is better when I have to keep guessing.
If you enjoy horror movies, Murder In The Woods is something you are sure to have fun watching!
A Message From The Director & Writer
“I realized that this type of film had never been done in English for a mainstream audience, where Latinos and people of color are the leads and they are not portrayed in stereotypical ways,” says Director Luis Iga Garza. “This is why, while developing this indie feature, we were very conscious of making sure that there would be a diverse cast in lead roles.”
“For us, it’s important for this story to be universal, but being Mexican-American, it was also important for the script to include cultural Latino references such as El Dia de los Muertos, The Chupacabras, and other stories that are recognizable,” says writer and producer Yelyna De León. “We purposely showed authentic moments, such as the altars to honor our ancestors, and blessings when we leave the house, memorable experiences that we share with our families.”
About Murder In The Woods
MURDER IN THE WOODS is centered on a group of college friends who plan a getaway to celebrate a birthday party at a desolate cabin in the woods. Against his grandmother’s (Soledad St. Hilaire) demands, Jesse (José Julián), a loner-type decides to go on a trip with his friends. He is immediately smitten with Fernanda (Jeanette Samano), a sweet girl from Chicago whom he hasn’t seen in years.
She is in town visiting her loudmouth cousin, Chelsea (Chelsea Rendon), who is ready to celebrate her birthday and plans to let loose with her boyfriend Gabe (Jordan Diambrini). Tagging along at the last second are Jule (Kade Wise), the class clown pothead, and the very out-of-his-league Celeste (Catherine Toribio). Soon after arriving to the mysterious cabin in the woods, the group of teens discover the dark secret it holds, which forces them to fight for their lives.
MURDER IN THE WOODS IN DRIVE-INS AND THEATERS NATIONWIDE
AUGUST 14 AVAILABLE ON DIGITAL & VOD SEPTEMBER 18.
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Tessa Smith is a Rotten Tomatoes Tomatometer-approved Film and TV Critic. She is also a Freelance Writer. Tessa has been in the Entertainment writing business for almost ten years and is a member of several Critics Associations including the Hollywood Critics Association and the Greater Western New York Film Critics Association.