Nobody Sleeps in the Woods Tonight (2020) Revieiw

A campy teen horror film that borrows from a lot of the greats of the genre.  Predictable and cheesy, this is as stereotypical as it gets.

Certificate: 18

Director: Bartosz M. Kowalski

Screenwriter: Bartosz M. Kowalski, Jan Kwiecinski

Starring: Julia Wieniawa-Narkiewicz, Michal Lupa, Wiktoria Gasiewska

Genre: Horror, Thriller

Runtime: 102 Minutes

Rating: 2.5 Stars

Reviewed by: Pearl

A group of teenagers are sent to Summer camp by their parents to have a technology detox.  After they go out for a multiple day hike, they start to get hunted by someone or something hiding in the woods.  Their survival training becomes literal as they now have to fight to live long enough to make it back home.

I spotted call backs to at least a handful of horror movies greats in the process of watching this.  And yet with all that great source material, this one sticks a little too close to all of it’s predecessors and doesn’t really try anything new.  It is predicable right from the get-go.  From it’s opening minutes you can tell who is going to live, who is going to die and that you will probably be rolling your eyes the entire time.  And you would be right.

Relying heavily on shock factor rather than any actual horror, this Wrong Turn/Slasher movie mash up bombards the viewer with a lot of shocking and gory deaths, but doesn’t really deliver in any other area.    The characters are all pretty under developed and overly cliched.  We get little to no information about any of our main group, we get a little backstory to Zosia, but not enough for it to really impact her story.  We now there was a traumatic even in her past to do with her family , and that is why she is at the camp, but it’s not really fully explored in the way it should have been.  All of this together means that I cared very little about the deaths of any of the characters, as I didn’t feel connected or interested in any of them, a big problem for a film relying on shocking deaths to capture their audience.

One great thing about this film though was it’s score.  Most of the music in the background was kind of whimsical or childlike, with just a few notes played off key, giving it a eerie or unsettling feel.  Nut this cheery, childlike music would play at all the wrong times, really giving the sequences a chilling and creepy feel.  The music did more to set a scene and atmosphere than nearly anything else.

The reveal of the origins behind the villains of the film also seemed really out of place.  Nothing else in this film has a Sci-Fi or supernatural element, so the weird meteor, alien ooze thing just seems out of place compared to the rest of the story.  Not giving them a origin would have been scarier, motiveless villains always get the bonus creep factor, rather than this odd addition to an otherwise run of the mill story.

There are far better horror offerings on Netflix than this one, if you like those old school teen horrors then you may enjoy this for it’s campiness, but besides that, not a lot to recommend it.

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