Monsters in the Woods written and directed by Jason Horton can be summed up in two words:
It’s a wonderful thing that so many filmmakers are able to make their films. It is also something to be applauded when these filmmakers try to be real and new in a very competitive world. However, it is not enjoyable when a filmmaker appears to be lazy. The opening of Monsters in the Woods caused a swarm of mixed feelings for me. At first I felt it wasn’t even trying. Then the opening credits rolled and I figured I might as well stick it out. By the end, I was sorely disappointed.
The films teeter totters through being found footage of some sort to being a normal narrative piece. Jayson Harrisford and his crew are out in the woods filming extra scenes for his amazing film that distributors said was lacking sex and violence. The solution? Shoot so much that the watchers are “’choking on blood and titties.”
So for 28 or so minutes, we follow these bland characters as they set up shots and do behind the scene interviews. The producer is some guy that looks like the host of Bizarre Foods and long story short, he has made a deal with the devil to gain greatness for this film. His ridiculous debt is to gather 12 souls to open the gates of Hell which makes little to no sense because how can he become famous if it becomes Hell on Earth?
The most remotely entertaining part of this story is the point I made above. The gates of hell are in a cave. A hole in the cave. And this slimy hole of Hell gives birth to the monsters in the woods (Psst! That’s the name of the movie! Get it?)
Now, I understand that saying to a filmmaker that their movie isn’t very good is like telling someone their baby isn’t very cute. But when the entertainment is a girl getting mutilated by a giant bug monster and her response is “They ripped off my fucking face” to which another actor responds “It’s not that bad” – I get very irritated. I don’t understand how someone can put money into a film (and this goes for big-budget, too) and not even try to make it decent. Just because it’s low budget doesn’t mean it has to suck.
Monsters in the Woods has its charms, though. First, the effects aren’t that bad if you take them with a low-budget grain of salt. The monsters themselves reminded me of 1960’s cold war scare films. There are effects, like the girl getting her face ripped off, that are pretty good if you don’t stare at it for too long. And did I mention the cave vagina? It’s not the most disturbing representation in a horror film, but it made me even more straight than I am and kind of ashamed for being female.
The quality of the production, though, differs greatly. There are moments that the quality is so fuzzy that it looks like one of my old VHS tapes – and one that got chewed by the player. Again, this is probably intentional on the filmmakers part, but it takes away from any legitimateness that the film could have had.