02nd Nov2020

‘Nobody Sleeps in the Woods Tonight’ Review (Netflix)

by Paul Metcalf

Stars: Julia Wieniawa-Narkiewicz, Michal Lupa, Wiktoria Gasiewska, Stanislaw Cywka, Sebastian Dela, Gabriela Muskala, Michal Zbroja, Miroslaw Zbrojewicz, Piotr Cyrwus | Written by Bartosz M. Kowalski, Jan Kwiecinski, Mirella Zaradkiewicz | Directed by Bartosz M. Kowalski

Ever since Friday the 13th helped solidify the concept of the summer camp being a place to just massacre teenagers, we’ve never been short on the supply of new killers and people for them to kill. Nobody Sleeps in the Woods Tonight aka W lesie dzis nie zasnie nikt, is a new Polish addition to the list, but does it offer anything new?

When a group of technology-dependant teenagers are sent to offline camp they are forced to hand over all their phones and tablets to the councillors. Sent off on a hiking trip for a few days, they find themselves not only fending off nature, but a set of monstrous twins whose only aim seems to be to kill and eat anybody they meet in the woods.

What makes summer camp movies like Nobody Sleeps in the Woods Tonight work is that they are fun. This is something that this movie actually manages, it is fun but also just a little strange. The murders we see are viscous, scary and don’t hold back on the gore. It is also fair to say that there is a lot of influence from movies like Friday the 13th, which surprisingly also includes nudity.

This in many respects is an old school slasher movie. We have a mutant like set of twins in the woods hellbent on killing everybody, we have a group of defenceless teenagers and we even have other strange characters hanging around the woods just to add to the chaos that Nobody Sleeps in the Woods Tonight is. Where the audience may find it hard to connect though is the actual story. The monsters do have a backstory, but in some respects it feels little like an after thought. It’s more of a “you’ve seen them have you? Well this is how they became the monsters they are”. The concept is interesting, but there is not enough actual story in the backstory to fully give a reason to invest in the killers. If anything they themselves are just tools to kill the teenagers, and they really enjoy doing it.

Where Nobody Sleeps in the Woods Tonight does work well though is the actual teenagers that are meant to only be the cannon fodder for our enjoyment. Julia Wieniawa as Zosia, the main character actually has a backstory that is slowly revealed and the audience can invest in. She has just the right amount of mystery surrounding her, but of course as horror fans we expect her to fit the “final girl” model, and she plays that part well. What I like about Nobody Sleeps in the Woods Tonight is that it works against the messages that it pushes in the actual story. The teenagers are meant to be rehabilitated against the evils of technology? Well it’s that very technology that would actually save them. The woods are meant to be full of adventure and fun? Hell no, they are full of murder and death.

While Nobody Sleeps in the Woods Tonight may have a slightly confusing and flimsy story behind it, it is also a lot of fun and actually manages to not be boring. The ending may be a little abrupt and the film doesn’t really bring anything new to the sub-genre, but it is fun and sometimes that is all we need from a good horror film.

**** 4/5

Nobody Sleeps in the Woods Tonight is available on Netflix now.

Review originally posted on PissedOffGeek

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