AWAKE IN THE WOODS – found footage review

Found Footage review

And then there are the myriad of movies that are shot on video and look like they were shot on video. I am always a bit surprised at this. It can work, for sure, if you are framing it as – hey, we are shooting with a video camera and want it to look that way – but it can also make the movie like supes cheap. It’s a tradeoff – look authentic and ‘real’ or look a bit low rent.

Oh, there’s also those movies that it seems clear that there’s a graphic nude scene (or sex scene) that is only in there because the filmmaker wanted to see the person naked – or thought it’d be a draw to get eyes on the film.

There’s that too.

Hello, and welcome to AWAKE IN THE WOODS!

This is a bit of an odd title in that there is no outright set up for what this film is. We only start to learn the story as we dig into the film. The film begins with an interview with a young woman who is in some sort of locked facility where she is being held and we are seeing an interview with her where the interviewer is trying to get to the bottom of what happened to her. It seems she was found in the woods, unable to tell anyone who she was, but she was clearly the perpetrator of an awful crime. Cut to three friends who are back together due to a curiosity about the stories they have heard about the local woods. The woman in the trio, Ronnie, has begun experiencing strange things that she believes may be related to the stories of the woods and the group wants to investigate to try to get to the bottom of the stories. From here the film interviews people who have experienced strange happenings around the woods in the hopes of learning more about what may be happening out there. The crew decides that the best way to investigate these stories of strange phenomena is onkly by going out there themselves to investigate and see what could be happening. The woods are sparse but deep and it doesn’t take long before they start to hear strange things, and one of them sees a girl that runs from them. It seems the more they look into what may be happening, the more they start to find evidence of things that don’t make sense and they begin to realize that perhaps there is some truth to the legends after all.

This is another of the BLAIR WITCH type of found footage where we find people making a film based on a legend in the woods and then heading into those woods to see how real the stories are. It’s a tried and true tact and it works for this sort of film.

This is definitely an indie production with the acting ranging from decent to the very amateur. This doesn’t really detract from the film, though it is a roadblock for things. The filming is handheld and while there is a lot of walking it’s not too heavy on shaky-cam tricks, which is great for folks that get motion sickness from that. The lighting is ambient, which works, though they should have used better flashlights for some of the climactic night shootin gas you just cannot see anything. The opening isvery awkward in that during that first interview the interviewee gets naked and propositions the filmmaker while she’s in dention at a facility – girl, that’s not gonna happen, that’s just an excuse to get her naked. The biggest issue with the film is that there is nothing here. It feels like some friends went into the woods and made it up as they went along and shot some things to try to tie it together. There’s no work put into the lore so we have no idea if they’re looking for bigfoot, the Blair Witch, or an alien. We never care about the characters so anything that could happen to them means nothing. It just feels like some friends having fun and getting two girls naked or close to it on film. As it stands it’s a mess of a movie that devolves into nonsense at the end.

It makes no sense.

The thing I love about found footage is that it IS so DIY and it can be done on the very, very cheap and still work and still make some money for the people doing the heavy lifting. The thing though is that you have to put the work into it. You have to have an idea and in the case of horror films a good ‘scare’ tactic. You have to look at the horror found footage film like it’s a campfire story, or a joke, and you need to set it up, build it up, and then you have to pay it off. Go look at LEAVING D.C. and you see what can be done with next to nothing.

As always, I admire anyone that can make and put a movie out but this one is absolutely forgettable.

1.5 out of 5

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