01st Apr2020

‘Rootwood’ VOD Review

by Chris Cummings

Stars: Tyler Gallant, Elissa Dowling, Sarah French, Felissa Rose, Tiffani Fest, Brandon Rhea, Kwame Head | Written by Mario von Czapiewski | Directed by Marcel Walz


Written by Mario von Czapiewski and with Marcel Walz (who remade Blood Feast back in 2016) as director, Rootwood is a horror flick about a couple of student podcasters named William and Jessica who are making a documentary about the myth of The Wooden Devil. Entering a forest by the name of… wait for it… Rootwood Forest, they, along with a recruit named Erin, go about investigating this creature and the truths about its existence. Think The Blair Witch Project with a modern twist, and you’ve got an idea of what the inspiration behind Rootwood is.

Now, as far as quality goes, this is a film of two halves, at least as far as I’m concerned. For a good 45 minutes or so I was getting into Rootwood and digging plenty of the set-up. The performances were fine, and the plot was plodding along nicely, but it hits a wall for me, and it becomes a tedious and stereotypical horror budget film, with characters making long tried and failed decisions. Having stupid characters making stupid decisions is something that horror has done for decades, but I think we’re past it now, at least when these decisions are so asinine that it’s hard to look past them. The practical effects, though, and the obvious passion for the genre, is evident and I’d be lying if I said this didn’t redeem itself by the end. Sure, there are holes in the plot and ideas that didn’t work, but after spending the 83 minutes with Rootwood, I was charmed by it in many ways and found it to be a movie with plenty going on that was interesting.

The main cast members, Tyler Gallant as William, Elissa Dowling as Jessica, Sarah French as Erin and b-movie horror queen Felissa Rose as Laura Benott, do a fair to good job in their roles. None of them are bad here, and while nothing, in terms of acting, blew me away, I was also cool with it all. They did a fine job at selling the story and reacting to what was happening around them, especially Gallant and Dowling, who stand at the centre of the whole thing.

Rootwood is a gentle creature feature with some good parts and some poor parts, but overall it is worth a shot and has the intensity and unsettling atmosphere that really matters in films of this ilk. With a stronger second half and a little more oomph to the scares, this could have been another step up from what it is, but either way, I had fun with Rootwood.

**½  2.5/5

From High Octane Pictures, Rootwood will available on DVD and Digital on April 7th.


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