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i found myself thinking about michael pare- i hadn't seen anything since 'streets of fire'. he was very solid here. muldoon, on the other hand, has been slumming since 'starship troopers'. i always enjoy clint howard, though.
It's any wonder Boll went on to 'house of the dead' after this. There is some promise here. but ultimately the ending caused a shrug, and made me think of 'sixth sense'.
Actually, the first glimpse at Matt is through pulsating blackness where he paces back and forth and fiddles with a knife as though having just committed murder or something, which interestingly, the film immediately abandons as he "wakes up." Driving down the road, Matt reaches for the radio, and Boll unleashes a series of flashcuts showing snow, woods, blood, bodies, and a shattered windshield as if the radio somehow play into Matt's enigmatic past. Later in the film, a waitress gives Matt a dirty look, and she gets an evil cue on the soundtrack. Later still, Matt and his girlfriend of three weeks get pulled over and the cop's vehicle also gets its own evil music. When the cop doesn't appear after two seconds, Matt gets out, and Dawn dives into the backseat to hide. Matt gets close to the cop's SUV, and calls out, "Hello?" And boo! The Sheriff is right behind him! Cue the sinister music again! All within the opening twenty minutes.
I get the feeling that when Uwe Boll wants to drop subtle hints that someone should run up to 7/11 for cigarettes he writes a note on poster board, hires a guy to dress up as a giant cigarette and deliver a singing telegram, paints an ad on all the billboards within 20 miles, does a chalk drawing on the driveway, phones it in to a live radio broadcast, and has an airplane write a message in the clouds. And you can just sense the movie struggling with all its might to slip in innuendos, "hinting" at the "surprise" ending, all the while trying to mislead at the same time. It has the effectiveness of, "Oh my God! Look over there! Is that the good year blimp?! Oh wait! Where did the handkerchief go? It disappeared! Magic!"
The story surrounds the young couple as they journey to a remote location in the woods to introduce Matt to Dawn's parents because in the movies nothing bad ever happens in isolated locations where no one can hear you scream. After an overly suspicious setup that works overtime isolating Dawn from the rest of the world (save for one lonely diner scene) and let's not forget the constant bombardment of flashbacks showing snowy woods, blood, a body, a shattered windshield, hospitals Dawn mysteriously disappears. Around this time, an axe murderer shows up to wreck havoc in their hotel room, and that guy vanishes as if it were all in Matt's twisted mind. Oh, did I mention the guy who "asked Dawn for directions" previously (you know, the one who inspired the Birds cuts), turns up at their hotel before the axe murderer appeared?
After the hotel clerk and local Sheriff write Matt off as a nutcase, Matt vows to prove his story and goes to the house of Dawn's parents right up the street from the hotel. And peeking through a window, he discovers Dawn talking with the homicidal axe maniac, or as she calls him "brother." In the room, we can see the entire family, and apparently Dawn got all the good looks and everyone else got umm well, never mind.
Around this time, the flashbacks have become progressively longer, progressively more revealing, and they still appear at an overabundant frequency. Matt apparently ran over a pedestrian and a tree. The tree survived; the pedestrian did not. Presently, the Blackwoods hillbillies are putting Matt on trial for the murder of Molly, the poor pedestrian whose face remains forever hidden in the flashbacks. And as his grim end approaches, the Sheriff vows to get to the bottom of it all because something doesn't quite click and "that kid seemed strangely familiar." And it's a race for the Sheriff to unlock the mystery of the Blackwoods and catch up with the audience who figured it out 20 minutes ago.
Unlike the film, I'll not explicitly spell out the ending. I'll assume anyone reading this has the intellect and capacity to figure it out for themselves based on the events I've described. I will, however, say that once Blackwoods reveals its dark secret, it doesn't shut up about it using extensive explicit imagery and not one but two monologues. "Yeah, dude, when you were looking at the Good Year Blimp, which wasn't really there (it was a 'distraction'), I hid the handkerchief in my pocket! See? Here it is! Wait, let me show you in slow motion."
Interestingly, the film's technical merits ironically builds a strong case that its creators, like the main character, are delusional drunks. Take for example a shot early on where the Sheriff turns to talk to a waitress, and his nose falls outside the frame. Or perhaps when Mat talks to Dawn (hiding in the backseat) after they get pulled over, and the camera wobbles as if the cameraman had held that heavy thing too long and can't quite keep it steady anymore. Or the choppy slow motion that looks more like the DVD player is screwing up than style. Or the ah, crap I'm at IMDb's word limit.
Blackwoods constantly refers via flashback to a horrible car crash that the main character has before the start of the movie, where a woman is accidentally killed. It constantly drops hints that 'sumthin' ain't right' with the main guy Matt, but doesn't really have any exposition till the closing minutes. While this keeps the pace brisk, it does mean that you feel a little left out of proceedings.
Also, the cast lay their 'you ain't from around here is ya boy' routine on a little thick. If Clint Howard had acted any stranger I would have started to expect Jeremy Beadle to hop out from behind a TV set during the motel segment. Given that Boll actually does a good job of developing an uneasy atmosphere for the movie, it seems unfortunate that he also got his actors to really turn up the 'weird dudes' knob. It kind of cheapens the effective direction a little.
Still, despite it being quite confusing at times, and having some fairly odd, unnecessarily nuanced acting (not bad, just really strange), Blackwoods is an entertaining film. The storyline is intriguing, and the way it's fed to you is quite gripping. Unlike Boll's House of the Dead, his other film I've seen, which is non-stop stupidity (though I hasten to add, that's good stupid not bad stupid), Blackwoods is quite intelligent and well put together. It's worth a shot, don't expect a miracle, but give it a try, you could enjoy it a lot.
Matt, Patrick Muldoon, goes on a trip to the country with his girlfriend, Dawn, Keeger Tracy, to meet her parents and realizes that the place where they live is where he killed a girl in a car accident some time ago. Matt starts to relive that event over and over until it drives him out of his mind.
Good use of scenery and even better use of plot and actors by director Vwe Boll of how the minds subconscious is able to bring back events that we would like to forget. Released for video but as good as most films that have theatrical runs, with good supporting efforts by Michael Pare, Samantha Farris and of course Clint Howard as the off the wall motel clerk. The movie ends a bit confusingly but if you use your freeze or slo-mo button, of your DVD or video player, you'll see what really happened to Matt.
Terrific use of and manipulating the scenes by directer Boll in which Matt is in flashback and how those scenes mesh together in the end is what makes this made for video movie as good, or even better then most psychological thrillers that you would pay as much as ten dollars to see in the movie houses.
The story idea isn't bad. A guy who is responsible for a drunk driving death is lured into the woods where he is attacked and tormented by the family of his victim. Unfortunately, however, the film is undone by crudeness and foul language--and you really don't care much about the folks as a result. In fact, EVERYONE throws out the f-bomb right and left so much that it just looked and sounded dumb. This really was handled artlessly--the writer/director Boll didn't do much to help the viewer connect with these folks. Could it be that Boll's command of the English language and culture is so poor that he thinks every American talks this way?! Another problem is that the film bounces around a lot--from the past to the present again and again. It's all pretty confusing and how this was handled was pretty confusing...and, once again, dumb.
Overall, a decent story concept that is handled so f-ing poorly that you wonder how they got f-ing funding for the f-ing project--as well as future f-ing projects. Sloppy and f-ing amateurish. And by the way, I DON'T talk this way...the film does.
A final comment--this film is currently listed on IMDb's Bottom 100 list--the 100 lowest rated films with at least 1500 votes. While I hated this film and found it offensive, I am sure that it didn't quite deserve this distinction. Perhaps if there was a Bottom 250 list, it should be included.