We’ve all walked into a strange bar and been hit with the silent stick of being the sore thumb in a bar full of locals who look like you’ve just punched their mother in the face. No matter where you’re from in the green/blue sphere, you’ll have experienced it, and some of us will have even been the one giving the Straw Dogs stare (Guilty, only without the salacious rape scene obviously), and after an uncomfortable solitary drink (to pretend that you’re unaware of the fact you’re so obviously unwelcome), you’ll high tail it out of there like you’re Burt Reynolds on a camping trip.
Some people though, are so caught up in their own minutia that they just don’t understand the danger vibe when its dungaree clad perpetrator is waving a shot gun in their face, and carry on with their path to the shallowest of graves in a blissful state of ignorance. Backwoods is a film about this sort of stupidity.
Two couples holidaying in Spain make the grim discovery of an abused little girl, who has been locked in an abandoned house in the middle of the woods, and rescue her. Despite this being the right thing to do morally, it is a big mistake – because this is a horror film, and we know which way this is going to go even if the characters don’t.
Stylish, intelligent, and with enough tension to make Deliverance look like an episode of Dawson’s Creek, Backwoods is chillingly plausible, with an immediacy that drags you right out of your comfort zone. Set in 1978, it has a real vintage feel without relying on tired pop culture references or obvious costumes to drive the point home, and yet it’s stylish editing and unflinching realism creates a contemporary classic.
The acting is outstanding with an impressive cast which includes none other than the incredibility talented (and apparently multilingual) Gary Oldman as one of the ill fated leads, and it is undoubtedly an impressive piece of cinema, but it makes for an uncomfortable and by no means enjoyable watch.