Title: Dark Woods
Directed by: Michael Escobedo
Starring: James Russo, Tracy Coogan and John Muscarnero
Scores: Technical: 99, Story: 95, Acting: 100, Overall: 99
Dark Woods is the kind of movie that starts out kind of depressing, then gets intriguing, then scary, and back to an intriguing depression.
Dark Woods is the story of a loving husband Henry (John Muscarnero-who also wrote the film) and his dying wife Susan (played to an eerie perfection by Tracy Coogan) who travel far away from the city life into the secluded woods so she can die in peace. Sound depressing enough yet? As Susan drifts in and out of consciousness, Henry, out for a jog stumbles across a terrifying scene; a teenage girl is getting attacked. He quickly jumps in and rescues her and thus begins the creepy interaction with Alicia (Mary Kate Wiles) and the eventual breakdown of it all.
The acting in Dark Woods was definitely better than I expected. Every one played their parts perfectly, but Tracy Coogan and Mary Kate Wiles stole the film. The contrast between the two of them was amazing. It was like a battle of good and evil. As I mentioned before, Tracy Coogan really made you feel the sickness that was eating her. A sign of a very talented actress, I guarantee you will be hearing more about her in the near future. Mary Kate Wiles’ role kept making me think of Alicia Silverstone in Crush. Seemingly innocent yet, there is a scary knowledge underneath. Another sign of good acting and again, keep your eye on her. Director Michael Escobedo did an amazing job of placing you in the right spots and the cinematography was great.
The movie was lacking some back-story especially with the very creepy Rand Larch (Mark Shady). The character was intense and a lot was left unexplained with him. It didn’t take away from the movie; I just think it could have added to it.
Dark Woods is a psychological thriller that will leave you breathless. I definitely recommend seeing it.
By Dave Minyard