Director: Jack Heller
Written by: Shawn Christensen, Jason Dolan
Starring: Katherine Waterson, Scott Eastwood, Sara Paxton
Run time: 90 mins
UK DVD Release Feb 2nd 2015 from Metrodome Distribution.
Following separate car troubles, three strangers become stranded in a woodland cabin, as they try to figure out how to get back to civilisation they realise not everything is as it appears.
It seems odd that I’m reviewing The Haunting of Black Wood for UK Horror Scene when in actual fact the film isn’t really a horror at all, more a psychological thriller, with a few supernatural elements chucked in for good measure, that’s not to say it’s a bad film though, I actually found myself enjoying it quite a lot.
A little bit of background on the film; it was actually released in the US a few years ago and has only just found it’s way to our green and pleasant land. Over there the film is titled ‘Enter Nowhere’. Now I don’t know the specific reason for the title change (there isn’t any haunting of any kind in the film) but I suspect it’s so the film will appeal more to the low-budget horror market, which as far as I know, is booming over here right now. The new title is misleading and I’m telling you this now as it did slightly mar my enjoyment of the film, I felt as if I’d been cheated in some way and I don’t want the same to happen to you.
Anyway let’s move on to the film itself. There’s a lot to enjoy here, the premise is highly original (at least to me anyway, it has probably been done before) it plays out a lot like an extended episode of The Twilight Zone. The film is slow paced but this only adds to the building mystery and tension. The twist/s are pretty well judged and never seem forced, every time I thought I had the story figured out something happened that completely derailed my theory.
There are some instances of beautiful cinematography, the opening is a particular highlight and seems to be a very clear homage to the films of Quentin Tarantino. There are welcome nods to other films as well throughout the film the writers and director clearly like to wear their influences on their sleeves.
Not all is good though; there is some terribly clunky dialogue and corny lines. It belittles the acting performances, with a better script I feel the actors could have done a better job but sadly this is not the case.
The soundtrack is very generic; you hear this type of “foreboding” score on hundreds of straight-to-DVD horror films and it never stood out for me.
The visual effects towards the end are awful, almost laughable, the film decides to go for spectacle and it just doesn’t work on such a low budget, a more subdued ending would have worked just as well.
Despite it’s shortcomings I found myself still liking the film, it has a certain low-budget charm to it and if nothing else it held my attention. I urge people to give it a chance, just don’t expect any horror.