The concept of She Came From The Woods is simple enough; late 80s setting, last day of summer camp, plenty of disposable camp counsellors that can be picked off one by one by the evil they foolishly unleash. On paper, this should work a dream, but Erik Bloomquist’s slasher trips over its own pretend-cleverness.
She Came From The Woods exists somewhere in between ripping off better films and trying to conjure up something original and different. For the most part, the film plays out like the greatest hits of 80s horror, but She Came From The Woods is also wildly humorous and gory, which should please plenty of fans of the genre.
Like Stranger Things, She Came From The Woods is deeply in love with the 80s aesthetic, but never truly committed to it. This is a glossy, neat, almost modern looking version of 1987; a little bit of grit and grain wouldn’t have gone amiss. The film is also edited chaotically and spatially, things don’t always make sense.
There is a clear love of both the films of the 80s and the trashiness of slashers and the time period itself, but it’s not quite enough to carry the film. The pacing is also off and the film drags quite badly in between the admittedly glorious and bloody kills.
There is still a lot of fun to be had with Bloomquist’s film. The gore is spectacular, even if the practical effects and prosthetics are a little heavy-handed and clumsy-looking. Camp bully Dylan’s death is particularly nasty and satisfying, but as with the visuals, there’s a frustrating sense of neatness. There’s no lack of fake blood which is spilled liberally, but the kills are over quickly and while some border on cruelty, their effects just aren’t felt.
There is an attempt to explore generational trauma; something happened years ago that has now returned to haunt the new counsellors and a past wrong must be made right. Much like Halloween Kills, She Came From The Woods only examines this on the surface which is worse than not having a deeper theme at all.
Unfortunately, She Came From The Woods almost completely misses the mark. While it’s gory and funny, it also comes with a sense of detachment. The script, penned by Bloomquist and his brother Carson Bloomquist, is full of cliches that never amount to anything bigger or indeed, better. The film checks every single 80s slasher cliche like it’s following a checklist, but She Came From The Woods never comes together as a coherent film about something real. She Came From The Woods is full of cheap thrills, but you might be better off saving your pennies for something better.