The Woods is a 2006 American supernatural horror film directed by Lucky McKee and starring Agnes Bruckner, Patricia Clarkson, Rachel Nichols, Kathleen Mackey and Bruce Campbell. Set 1965, the plot centers on a wayward teenage girl who is sent to a New England all-girls private high school which holds an ominous secret related to the staff, history, and woods surrounding the school.
In 1965, after starting a fire in a forest, a rebel teenager Heather Fasulo (Agnes Bruckner) is sent by her estranged mother and her neglectful father (Bruce Campbell) to an all-girls private boarding school, Falburn Academy, located in the middle of some woods. The dean, Ms. Traverse (Patricia Clarkson), accepts Heather in spite of the bad financial condition of her father. Feeling displaced, Heather, who also demonstrates talent for telekinesis, becomes close to a shy girl called Marcy Turner; they are both maltreated by an abusive classmate.
Heather has horrifying nightmares and hears voices from the woods; she comes to believe that the school is cover for a coven of witches. When some students, including her friend Marcy, simply vanish, Heather believes that to avoid being the next to disappear she has no choice but to investigate and, if possible, get out of that place…
“One of the most polished and inventive horror flicks of the still-ongoing year, a synthesis of classical supernatural and sexualized imagery that expands upon, rather than simply regurgitates, its celebrated predecessors.” Nick Schager, Lessons of Darkness
“While not a dazzling stylist like Argento, McKee rises to the occasion in several horrific scenes, but saves his most stylish and original work for a dreamy slow motion montage sequence of Heather slowly settling into the routines of the school scored to Lesley Gore’s “You Don’t Own Me”. It reminds us once again how much McKee loves these girls, as he obsessively films the beautiful cast in their dirty/innocent school uniforms bouncing down the stairs as though they were moving underwater, their hair undulating in magical ways, smiling and whispering secrets to each other in silence.”
“The Woods is hardly a masterwork in the same vein as May, but it’s proof that he can put together a good little creepshow that’s driven by both characters and horror hysterics. The photography and editing are crisp, making this a lean experience that’s perhaps just a few developed subtexts away from being truly special. Had it more fully explored the period setting (which is only relevant in the presence of a couple of oldies tunes), it could have funneled some interesting themes… “ Oh, the Horror!
Tags: 1965, 2006, Agnes Bruckner, American horror, boarding school, Bruce Campbell, girls' school, horror film, Lucky McKee, New England, Oh, Patricia Clarkson, rebel teenager, supernatural, the Horror! review, The Woods