Girl in Woods (2016)
After a tragic accident Grace is lost and alone in the Smoky Mountains. Grace’s struggle for survival is made more complicated by her troubled past. Battling the demons in her mind may be the only way to come out alive.
Genre : Thriller/Drama
Country : USA
Juliet Reeves London : Grace
Jeremy London : Jim
Charisma Carpenter : Momma
Director : Jeremy Benson
“This will be a day you’ll never forget”
Are you a hardworking student full of enthusiasm and zeal who’s trying to get a degree in psychiatry so you can immerse yourself in the world of the insanity? And you got an irresistible urge to put on some walking shoes and pave your way through dense forests? Well, this movie is definitely perfect for you in that case. Because believe me, the only thing you’ll see are heaps of film footage with beautiful images of a vast pine forest. And in this beautiful forest, you’ll see a confused young woman dragging herself forward, searching for a way out of this treacherous forest. It’s quite obvious after a while she’s balancing on the brink of insanity.
Grace (Juliet Reeves London) and Jim (Jeremy London) are staying in a cabin deep in the woods of the Smoky Mountains. Did Jim organize this trip so he could pop the big question? Or because Grace needed some rest? She has a lot of psychological problems caused by a traumatic experience in her youth. She’s plagued by nightmares during her sleep and medication can only dampen it slightly. So maybe it’s about time to wander around the woods looking for a romantic spot near a waterfall. That’s Jim’s bright idea initially. Until this dumb fool blows his own brains against the leafy canopy after a clumsy maneuver with his gun. Grace freaks out and is left behind more traumatized. And that’s the beginning of a hallucinatory survival trek. Without pills, that is.
The beginning looked promising and interesting. A kind of “Inception” intro with Grace’s fiancé in a terrifying role. A dream within a dream moment showing Grace’s condition. Unfortunately the further course of the film is not of the same level and it evolves into a pure survival film where the psychological state of Grace is put severely to a test. Continously you’ll see the recurring hallucinations and flashbacks which slowly but surely explain the reason of Grace’s psychosis. Initially these flashbacks were still acceptable and necessary to substantiate the state of Grace. But I was fed up with the repetitive nature after a while, despite them being pretty disturbing and explicitly portrayed. Also Grace’s aimlessly roaming around in this seemingly infinite forest and ending up at the starting point all the time, was quite irritating. After seeing yet again a collection of shrubs and trees, an idyllic waterfall and close-ups of leaves and needles, it became a little bit too much. It started to look alot like a promotional film from Greenpeace.
Many will say this is a dull and monotonous film. The fascinating part, however, is found on a whole other level. It’s all about the degeneration of the mental state of Grace by the lack of medication, hardship, hunger and desperation. To be honest, this was played in an excellent way by Juliet Reeves London. The transformation of an ordinary woman, although tormented by her inner demons, into a skittish, primitive creature who’s being confronted with her alter egos and suffers from delusions in the form of a kind of demon, is indeed exquisitely depicted. At the end you’re wondering if her traumatic past experience actually went down as it appears in her nightmares. What about her parents? What happened really to them? And Jim’s fatal accident? Just a stupid accident or something else? Was what we usually saw real? Or fiction?
The final denouement shows or suggests the real outcome. But ultimately “Girls in Woods” is an enigmatic film in which many pressing questions remain unanswered. The fact is that Grace isn’t only lost in a vast forest, she’s also a bit astray in terms of her mental condition. Psychiatrists in the making and hiking enthusiasts will probably appreciate this movie. The average movie buff won’t react enthusiastically. Eventually Grace grows into a new urban legend. A myth and suggestive story that’ll be used as a campfire story.