22nd Feb2021

‘Crone Wood’ DVD Review

by Alain Elliott

Stars: Elva Trill, Ed Murphy, Sarah Jane Seymour, Karen McCartney, Stephen Doring, Saoirse Doyle, Rowan Finken, Degnan Geraghty, Meg Healy | Written and Directed by Mark Sheridan

My love of found footage started, like many horror fans, with the all time classic The Blair Witch Project. But since that movie I have watched a lot of films in this genre and the quality is mixed to put things generously. For every [REC], Creep, Host or Lake Mungo there are probably a dozen movies that are pretty damn terrible. But that doesn’t stop me watching each and every found footage movie I can get my hands on and Crone Wood is the latest.

Like many films in the genre, Crone Wood has a simple, if a bit unbelievable, story as we see a young couple have an enjoyable first meeting and decide that is a good enough reason to go camping in the woods immediately after. A decision, like many in this movie, that is a bad one.

There is indeed a whole list of dumb ideas that the two main characters, in particular, make in this movie, and although some are eventually kind of explained, many are not. There’s a whole scene that involves them entering and searching a stranger’s house because they don’t answer the door. And although one character continues to say this is a bad idea, they just carry on. Is anyone stupid enough to do that?!

Perhaps one of the hardest things to do in a found footage movie is to give characters a reason to be filming. Often is because they are an amateur film-maker or maybe they are just filming a holiday, that kind of thing. Crone Wood, like many poor attempts at this type of film, doesn’t always give a reason. Often the main character is just the type of guy who films a lot of things. Viewers can decide if they are okay with that explanation or not but there’s not a whole lot of thought gone into it.

Is the found-footage style needed? I’m not sure it is with Crone Wood. In fact a better movie could have been made without it think.

The first half of the movie, acting performances are decent enough. The two leads feel quite natural and show some good chemistry. But as soon as the story strays away from then two of them just chatting and moves into the ‘scarier’ elements of the movie, than the acting goes a bit downhill from everyone involved.

A low budget is often the reason a horror movie uses the found footage style and its techniques but as has been proven many times, it is not an excuse for a bad movie. The low budget here might prevent the filmmakers from having some cool practical effects (the ones on display are poor) but it’s no excuse for the movie to be uninteresting and not the least bit scary. Cheap-looking masks always put me off and it is no different here. Masks in a horror movie, despite some well-known and celebrated ones, often look the opposite of frightening.

Wanting to be some kind of mix of The Blair Witch Project and The Wicker Man, Crone Wood fails on almost all accounts. There are many similar films out there and many better ones too so it is hard to recommend this to anyone but die hard found footage fans.

Crone Wood is out now on DVD and VOD from Danse Macabre/Jinga Films.

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