The School in the Woods review

As a lover of horror, one of the questions I always ask myself. If certain films never came out, would certain films ever have been made or existed? The plot of this film is 6 kids who live in Louisiana, and going to a old abandoned school that is rumored to be haunted, to see if they can find ghosts and spirits. Then, 2 people break down, and they join the fun. And the female of the 2 that break down is a medium. What happens when the ghosts wont let them leave, will they survive the night?

This film should have worked. It had great ideas. Shot almost all in black and white, it felt like watching a 50’s ghost story. Which for us who are fans of the 50’s ghost stories know that is not all necessarily a good thing. There were some really bad ones. For indie directors the ghost story is always a hard sell to fans. I expect to have something that I am getting into that makes me want to turn on the lights and squeeze a pillow and look behind me. Just put a fear in me. Again, this film should have worked. It did a scene with a split camera. Where you seen the screen divide into two lenses and I thought that was a clever idea. But, they did not capitalize on it, and it just was lame till 20 minutes into it. And that scene was so fast and short, it felt like a cheap payoff. I mean the film is building to a big climax, and all of a sudden out of nowhere we have this cop, just driving to the haunted school. A wasted 7 to 8 minutes that made no sense, and killed the momentum that was built to a payoff ending. Now, the cop has nothing to do with the ending, or anything building up. That is why this scene made no sense. The guy who was with the medium, husband, lover, cousin..they never told us, was so silly and dull. He was a uncalled for character and took away from the suspense in certain scenes. Again, there are a few strong scenes. Esp. when the medium has the vision of the evils that happened and caused the school to be haunted. If this film was 25 minutes shorter and maybe gave us some genuine ghost scenes that did not look like every other film I have seen in this ghost horror genre it would have worked. I am not asking for some million dollar budget and CGI. I like simple. In the Dark was a simple ghost story that delivered on a budget that is 1/5000 of what this was. I hate films that think they are hollywood, when they fucking are not. And this film tried to be that hollywood ghost story and it failed.

I loved the split camera idea, and the school was a cool setting. But, the romantic sub plot to try and force us to care about characters who we can’t sympathize with, is odd. And, this kills me that when people know there are ghosts, they are so surprised and they have paranormal computer readers telling them that they are there. You guys knew the place was haunted, shit what did you expect to see? And why when they see ghosts do they want to leave then, you guys knew they existed? Why did you even go? ” hey James, there are sharks in the ocean”….” duh, they wont attack, i will swim about 20 miles out, they wont bother me”…15 inches out, ” oh man, the sharks are attacking me, ummmm…I need to get out of this water now I think hold on let me check my shark radar reader, yep they exist. ” Seriously…All jokes aside, this film had some good intentions and tried, and some ideas looked cool..but how silly is it, the ghosts were what 9 minutes of a 102 minute film. Why be stingy on the ghosts?

3 out of 10