25th Aug2019

Frightfest 2019: ‘Witches in the Woods’ Review

by Alain Elliott

Stars: Hannah Kasulka, Alexander De Jordy, Sasha Clements, Corbin Bleu, Humberly González, Craig Arnold, Kyle Mac, Sasha Clements, Ian Matthews, James Gilbert, David Lafontaine | Written by Christopher Borrelli | Directed by Jordan Barker


I absolutely love films, in particular, horror films that have scenes that involve a lot of snow. Or, even better, if like Witches In The Woods, have a setting that is entirely snow-covered. Maybe it’s my love of Christmas and movies based around that holiday season or maybe it’s just how beautiful landscapes and nature look when covered with the white stuff. Or maybe it’s because when blood is sprayed or dripped on to snow, it looks really really cool. Whatever it is, I know I am going to enjoy a movie a little bit more if snow is featured heavily.

I do also enjoy films that are based in one, small area and as Witches In The Woods has much of it’s runtime inside a car, then it had a few things going for it with me as a viewer.

A group of young adults set-off for a snowboarding trip in the middle of nowhere when their car crashes and breaks down. Yes, this does sound familiar, and when attempting to survive and get help, things seemingly only get worse as night time closes in, temperatures drop and something is after them.

I didn’t immediately, or actually ever, fully dislike the main group of character in Witches In The Woods. Which is an improvement on many similar horror movies where the group of young adults/teenagers are so unlikeable that you want them to die. But not in a good way, just in a way that you’d rather they were not on screen to annoy you anymore. That said, the ones here are, as both characters and actors, pretty interchangeable. I felt like no-one really stood out, no-one had anything to make me want to see them survive. Some of they were just a little bit more likeable than others.

The script, and the performances do at least do a good job of building tension between the characters. For the most part, I understood why they were arguing with each other and why they didn’t always get along. These things made sense, which is again, something that many horror movies don’t achieve. There probably isn’t quite enough blood and gore. The death scenes we do get show some good effects and make-up work and plenty of blood but they are few and far between. With this and the ‘demon’ in the movie, less is definitely more for Witches In The Woods.

So what about that snow? Well there’s a lot of it! The mountain tops, roads and tress are all coated in very real snow. Any panned out shots of the landscape do look fantastic and indeed, beautiful and you can almost feel the ice cold temperatures that the characters are enduring.

I enjoyed the kind of open-ended, make your own mind up conclusion that happens in the closing moments but I felt like more could have been done with this during the movie itself. We do see a brief recap of it incase you have somehow forgotten the last ninety minutes and it only goes to show things were all a bit too simple.

Witches In The Woods is a perfectly acceptable horror movie that while it’s an easy way to spend an hour and a half, it doesn’t offer a whole lot of new things in the genre and will be forgotten soon after it finishes.

*** 3/5

Witches In The Woods screened on Sunday August 25th as part of Arrow Video Frightfest 2019.


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