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STUDIO: Lions Gate
RUNNING TIME: 97 min
Previews from Lions Gate
Rural Europe is just as fucked up as Rural America.
Gary Oldman, Paddy Considine, Virginie Ledoyen and Aitana Sanchez-Gijon
Alright, Paddy. Time to get out of this car and hope that someone in America recognizes you.
The Backwoods focuses on two couples spending their summer in Northern Spain. When they reach their vacation house, they find a deformed girl. She’s on the run from men who have been chasing her from the surrounding forest. She can’t speak and the local men want to kill her.
I’m not saying what we did was wrong. It’s just that there are some things you shouldn’t do a squirrel’s rectum.
I never know what’s going to be the next cult movie. I’ve recently heard a ton of non-movie fans talking up The Backwoods. Originally having seen the film in March, I didn’t pay that much attention to it. Taking cues from Straw Dogs, the film seemed to be another civilized men finding their balls in an untamed setting. Well, finding their balls might be the wrong phrase. It’s more of a tapping into the repressed primal nature of the human psyche.
The Backwoods digs in deep into this primal nature, as we watch two couples fall apart. Paddy Considine plays Norman, a man venturing into the Basque region of Spain to help repair his marriage. Gary Oldman’s Paul is in a similar boat as Norman, but he’s not willing to acknowledge that his marriage is in trouble. The women are eventually introduced and they’re more repressed than a heroine in a Tennessee Williams play. After the girl shows up, the film pays homage to Boorman, Peckinpah and even Leone with its breakdown of violence in such a rural area.
The Oldman prepares to feed.
The major failure of the film is how they mismanaged the last half of the film. It’s not too terrible, but it almost blows the flow established in the first half of the film. I don’t want to crap on the incredible action of the second half, but it feels so quick. When you contrast that with the 70s gritty style that the filmmakers tries to emulate, you’re left with this odd feeling. Am I seeing an homage or is the director picking choosing styles when it suits his visuals?
The cast is amazing for such a small film. It’s just that schizo nature of the film throws me for a loop. Are you a horror movie? Are you a Hillbilly Exploitation movie? Are you a concerned adult drama about the state of relationships? Tell me who you are The Backwoods! I want to like you, but you’re making it difficult for me.
Spain’s The Wild Bunch re-enactors were always disappointing.
The Backwoods comes to DVD with only some previews for other Lions Gate titles. That’s not really special. I don’t get why they couldn’t port over some of the features from the Region 2 disc. But, maybe that’s asking a lot. I don’t see this film setting the world on fire in Home Entertainment sales.
The A/V Quality is amazing. I’ve been spending most of time knocking down Blu-Rays for the past two weeks and I have to applaud the clarity on this standard definition DVD. One of the better transfers of 2008 coupled with impeccable Dolby Digital 5.1 surround sound provides for a wonderful experience. It’s very rare that horror/exploitation titles get to look this good. Sorry, Blue Underground….but, it’s true.
In the end, The Backwoods is a thinking man’s horror film. Taking cues from the natural horror and exploitation movement of the 1970s, the film finds its bearings. It’s just that it blows this overall tone for some quick action shots and an ending that still has me wondering why they shot it. I guess that everyone is too fried to pay attention to nuance anymore. But, damn it! I still care.
Nobody rocks a ‘stache like Oldman rocks a ‘stache.