It is a wonder that anyone still goes away to camp, what with all the supernatural entities, demons and masked serial killers that frequent them. Released in select theaters on February 10, 2023 through Blue Finch Films, in Erik Bloomquist’s She Came from the Woods, the characters are actually preparing to leave Camp Briarbrook for the summer. Almost home free, they make the monumentally bad decision to take part in a ritual to summon an old evil. As expected, this brings mayhem, murder and a posse of evil laughing kids.
Set in 1987, She Came from the Woods is yet another film that looks to capitalize on the nostalgia for ’80s set Horror. However, whilst the costumes and hairstyles are reminiscent of the period, the dialogue feels much more modern which does at times detract from the setting. The film also has various homages to other horrors, though at times this works to the film’s detriment, reminding the audience that there are better films in a similar vein.
This all in mind, the film boasts a diverse cast of characters, of varying likeability. Most of the characters are the usual stereotypes – the jock, the slacker, the guy brimming with toxic masculinity etc. Featuring a cast that includes Cara Buono (The Sopranos series, Stranger Things series), Clare Foley (Sinister 2012, Do No Harm series), Spencer List (Fringe series, The Fosters series) and William Sadler (Die Hard 2 1990, Demon Knight 1995), the performances are good though, and She Came from the Woods may have more villains than it first appears… which certainly gives the you someone to root to receive a painful demise.
Story wise, She Came from the Woods is straightforward enough until it comes to the origin of the evil unleashed. This is explained a few times, but it never feels quite convincing or strong enough and consequently the story shines the most when the audience is with the protagonists. She Came from the Woods is also billed as a Horror Comedy, but is neither particularly scary nor particularly funny. Whilst this may sound like a criticism, actually the film works well tonally. On the positive side, it is well-paced and makes good use of its running time. Furthermore, one of the film’s best elements is its use of practical effects over computer generated ones. There is not an abundance of gore, but when there are moments of gore, they are effective and fun to watch.