The trailer for Girl in Woods hints at an engaging story of a woman grappling with a dysfunctional family past following a tragedy that happes while spending time in the woods with her fiancé. The poster shows Juliet Reeves as three incarnations of Grace – each one bearing the same grey hoodie and a fierce expression. I went into this movie with so much hope for the premise. I really wanted to like Grace and hoped to discover her complicated past and why it had so much bearing on her escape from the woods.
Grace and her fiancé take off to spend some time in the woods together. It’s clear that their lives haven’t always been easy and they reflect on that fact with her fiancé saying that they have been good for each other. With little fanfare and no buildup, a gunshot cracks out of nowhere and he crumples to the ground. There is a bullet hole at the back of his skull and as Grace frantically rolls him over the audience can see the entrance wound underneath his chin. Suddenly Grace finds herself alone with no idea how to get back to where they are staying. She rapidly unravels, descending into flashbacks of the bitter relationship of her parents. Her sanity frays and she has to contend with both internal and external demons as she tries to make her way back to civilization.
I really wanted to like this film, but its lack of focus makes it difficult. Grace acts strangely, not just for a mentally ill woman but for anyone. Following her fiance’s death, she sits on a rock in the river throwing stones for awhile. She chooses to use her phone to listen to music at one point rather than preserving the battery. Her lack of basic survival instinct is frustrating even if her journey is ultimately one that reveals her to be stronger than she started. The sound mixing leaves her conversations with herself drowned behind the odd and occasionally jarring musical choices.
Girl in Woods has an interesting premise, but ultimately suffers from its flawed execution.