Film, DVD, Blu-Ray & Streaming Reviews - By Fans For Fans



Directed by Erik Bloomquist.
Starring Cara Buono, Clare Foley, Spencer List, William Sadler, Erik Bloomquist, and Giselle Torres.

Horror/Comedy, USA, 101 mins, cert 18.

Released in the UK on digital platforms via Blue Finch Film Releasing on 26th June 2023.


Set in 1987, SHE CAME FROM THE WOODS is a spirited attempt to rekindle the ‘80s slasher but with a few modern tweaks that let you know that we’re not really back in that golden era; in fact, some elements are so clear now that no number of mullets or Kim Wilde songs can disguise it.


It’s 1987, and we’re at Briarbrook Summer Camp, where everyone is packing up after the summer holidays. On the last night, Peter McCalister (Spencer List), the grandson of the camp’s owner Gilbert (William Sadler), gets a bit excited and tries out the urban legend of summoning the ghost of Agatha, a nurse that used to work at the camp and was involved in various occult practices. The thing is, whilst Peter thinks it is all a laugh, the legend is true, and the ritual actually works, bringing Agatha back into the real world and causing no end of mayhem as camp counsellors get possessed, go mad, and all turn on each other in a night of bloody carnage.


So not only is SHE CAME FROM THE WOODS an ode to campfire slashers like FRIDAY THE 13th and THE BURNING, but it also pays homage to THE EVIL DEAD with its supernatural elements, which helps with the comedy as this movie is mostly playing for laughs or is at least trying to. The trouble is, what should be a simple, breezy 85-minutes-maximum horror comedy turns out to be 101 minutes of a few fun kills peppered in amongst plodding scenes of mythology building and checklist characters running about that range from bland to irritating, with none of them really coming under the umbrella of people you would like to see make it to the end.


The backstory of Agatha is not very interesting, the lack of energy between the kill scenes is glaring, and the whole project feels like someone had a good idea on paper but never really planned out what to do to make the movie stick out from a field that is getting increasingly populated by ‘80s throwbacks, and most of them more entertaining than this.


However, those few fun and gory kills do bring a manic energy to proceedings, so it isn’t entirely wasted, and William Sadler – who also serves as a producer – is always a great presence, although he doesn’t have a great deal to do here. Cara Buono plays his daughter Heather and proves that she has the chops to have been a great final girl in a movie that deserved her talents a bit more, but otherwise, SHE CAME FROM THE WOODS commits too many sins for a horror comedy – the main ones being that it isn’t particularly funny and not at all scary – and never really feels like a cohesive whole, just a few parts that may work in a short but not enough to stretch out for 101 minutes.


Chris Ward.


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Film, DVD, Blu-Ray & Streaming Reviews
By Fans For Fans