Deep In The Woods (promenons-nous Dans Les Bois)

on November 03, 2001 by Chris Wiegand
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This instantly forgettable tale of a group of actors who find themselves trapped deep in the woods with a serial killer on the loose takes a familiar horror setting (spooky Gothic house in the middle of nowhere) and does very little of interest with it. Despite its enthusiastic and liberal doses of gore and naked flesh, Delplanque's crude feature debut fails to either excite or scare.

   The film follows five hip, oversexed actors who stay at the chateau of the mysterious Baron Axel de Fersen (Francois Berleand) in order to perform their unique stage version of the Little Red Riding Hood myth for the baron and his son Nicolas (Thibault Truffert.) When the play has finished, they become increasingly suspicious of the baron, who displays an unnerving interest in hunky Ryan Phillippe-type Wilfried (Vincent Lecoeur). When one of the actors goes missing, the remaining four find themselves in the midst of confusion and fearing for their lives.

   One of a spate of largely mediocre late-night horror flicks at this year's Edinburgh International Film Festival, "Deep In The Woods" suffers primarily from its stereotypical characters, such as the creepy count, the weird gamekeeper ("Beau Travail"'s Denis Lavant), the suspicious policeman (Michel Muller) and the troupe of bitchy actors. From the opening news bulletins about the murderer at large, this is all rather predictable nonsense. The film's premise is consistently reminiscent of Kimble Rendall's "Cut," also showing at the festival. It lacks the humor of Rendall's film, however, and in comparison comes across as all the more pretentious with its gloomy Gothic overtones and choral accompaniments. There is some experimental and successful use of sound distortion and Delplanque occasionally uses the dark interiors and exteriors to good effect with some fluid camerawork, but such touches fail to save an otherwise dull and embarrassing attempt at horror. Starring Clotilde Courau, Clement Sibony, Alexia Stresi and Denis Lavant. Directed by Lionel Delplanque. Written by Annabelle Perrichon. Produced by Marc Missonnier and Olivier Delbosc. A Phaedra release. Horror. French-language; subtitled. Not yet rated. Running time: 84 min.

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