Written by: Matt Molgaard
Directed by: Jeremy Benson
Cast: Charisma Carpenter, Juliet Reeves London, Jeremy London
I’m a fan of films that throw the audience a number of curveballs. Jeremy Benson’s Girl in Woods fits those preferences like a glove. And we’re not talking an O.J. Simpson glove, we’re talking about a warming, comfortable fitting glove that demands a little appreciation and respect. Girl in Woods deserves those things. It’s different, it’s engaging and it’s a complex story that’s going to leave viewers wondering at what exactly they’re seeing, and how in the world the story will reach conclusion.
Grace is an extremely troubled woman, familial suicides haunt the woman to an alarming degree. But, now that she’s older, and long distanced from her tumultuous past, she’s attempting to find some degree of normalcy. Her boyfriend pops the big question and the two head out for a little time in the wilderness to celebrate their engagement. But the wilderness isn’t kind to Grace, and it sure as hell isn’t kind to Jim, her now-fiancé. Without dropping too many spoilers I’ll say this: Grace ends up wondering about in the brush, lost and desperate. But even worse, she’s plagued by grotesque and paralyzing flashbacks; she’s got more to worry about than a poor sense of direction – she’s ghosts nipping at her heels.
There are a few brilliant spins in the picture, and once you see Girl in Woods, you’ll greatly appreciate the extensive subplot. It works wonders in helping us to know who this woman – who seems to not only be plagued by the memories of her past, but a potential case of multiple personalities as well – is, and what she’s truly about. Benson, who also wrote the story, respects the audience by fearlessly tackling intellectual content, ensuring that we’re forced to constantly think through his film, and that too, comes highly appreciated.
The performances are great. Juliet Reeves London (who’s actually married to Jeremy London, her onscreen boy toy) is excellent and should be proud of succeeding in carrying an elaborate film on her shoulders. And while Jeremy London may not have a wealth of screen time, he’s as awesome as he’s ever been. This is a strong duo that really work together (their relationship at times feels strained, which only speaks further testimony to Reeves London’s performance).
The film looks amazing, and within minutes the narrative crawls under the viewer’s skin. Between the gorgeous scenic shots and the crisp editing we’ve got a real indie winner here. The sound mix, may I add, is also crisp as a fresh Ruffle. There are a few areas that may rub some viewers the wrong way, but any perceivable mistake is easily overlooked as a result of our female leads impact on the story, and a few of the obstacles you’re having trouble dealing with in your on melon will see resolution as the flick edges toward it’s grand climax.
Girl in Woods is a great picture, stuffed full of twists and turns that force audiences to question their own sanity and mortality. If you’re after that unexpected gem of a flick, Girl in Woods is the indie piece you should be tracking down immediately.