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She Came From The Woods Review – A Funny, Self-Aware Horror-Comedy Is The Real Deal

February 6, 2023

Summer camp horror has a specific vibe. It must be sunny and windy until all hell breaks loose, preferably drenched in as much blood as cheese. The camp should crack down. This category of movies that started with the slasher Sleepaway Camp spawned one of the greatest franchises of all time, Friday The Thirteenth, will never get old. Peacock gave us the included thriller Them/They starring Kevin Bacon last year, and now She Came From The Woods mixes a ton of horror tropes in a blender with lake water and camp songs and the serves with a hilarious, goofy straw to swallow.

In 1987, on the last night of the camp, a group of camp counselors accidentally unleashed an evil entity out for revenge. It’s rare that a horror movie surprises me. It’s even rarer for a horror comedy to actually make me laugh. Perhaps it’s the conscious quality of Erik and Carson Blomquist’s script that allows the comedic elements to shine. This feature developed from a short of the same name will make you laugh out loud. It’s always easier to laugh with someone than at someone. This film pays homage to the great while finding new lands to sow. It’s a blast from the past that’s fun from start to finish.

After the campers leave on the bus, the monitors gather for a nightcap and a ghost story. While playfully summoning the spirit of an evil nurse who supposedly worked there decades ago, things take a dark turn. They are shocked to find that the ritual has worked and the body count begins to pile up. Meanwhile, the kids on the bus start behaving weirdly and then disappear, leaving the brother in charge Shawn (Tyler Elliott Burke) in a panic. What happens next is pure gold. As everyone struggles to stay alive, blood begins to flow and children begin to growl.

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She Came From The Woods is a delight from the start and never lets up on the throttle. Fast-paced and witty, it’s the kind of film tailor-made for casual viewing. However, it never asks for more than a laugh, and there’s something to be said for a smart movie that doesn’t require mental gymnastics to enjoy. In an age where high horror is all the rage, She Came From The Woods lets the good times roll and understands its path.

All the usual suspects are presented. There’s the overcompensating bully, the responsible older brother and the less successful younger brother, a good girl and her gay brother, and a beleaguered mother and grandfather trying to keep it all together while keeping a huge secret. The game for all that is thrown leans into the silliness of the story and balances the campiness of the plot with the genuine nervousness of witches, dark woods, creepy children and murderous nurses with boiling rabbits on their brains. .

Each character plays on each other without dominating anyone. It’s a testament to Bloomquist’s management that it keeps things together on a knife’s edge without letting it descend into utter absurdity. Instead of giving us the same exciting teenage beats, an unexpected diversion gives depth to one character while creating another rooted in the past but built for a more modern sensibility.

Bad Boy Dylan (Adam Weppler) is a remarkable game in the stereotype. It’s loud, obnoxious and vile but hilarious in that way only 80s movies can get away with it. Another highlight is William Sadler’s Gilbert McCalister, who has owned and run the camp since he was young. The family patriarch has secrets he’s lived with for a long time and will have to come to terms with before the night is out. He’s a reliable on-screen presence who uses his gravitas to lend credence to the outlandish story. Finally, Dan Leahy (Ben) is likeable and sarcastic without overdoing it. She’s from the Woods sports a surprisingly good cast who are all having a great time, and it shows.

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The ridiculously high body count starts rising early and doesn’t stop. Good hands-on effects from John Lauterbach and makeup artist Amanda Pepin use buckets of blood and gooey viscera to drive the visuals, which are soaked in red and knee-high. Nurse Agatha is well designed and really scary once launched. Even though it’s a horror-comedy, Nurse Agatha is scary enough to create fear with the laughs.

She Came From The Woods doesn’t take itself too seriously. It’s just enjoyable nonsense that’s more than the sum of its goofy parts. Be sure to stick around for the awesome end credits sequence with a fantastic 80s original song. It will be exclusively in theaters on February 10, 2023. Don’t sleep on this one. Gather a group of friends and settle in for a good time.

Tracy Palm Tree

As the editor of Signal Horizon, I love watching and writing about genre entertainment. I grew up with old school slashers, but my real passion is television and all things weird and ambiguous. My work can be found here and Travel Weird, where I am the editor.

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