Hidden in the woods
Terrible dialogue, inappropriate music and dreadful characters create an awful experience.
This time instead of introducing the director (Patricio Valladares, basically just starting out) I will explain how I found myself at Film 4’s Fright fest in Leicester square. It just so happened that a certain favorite comedy duo of mine Tim and Eric were bringing their film Tim and Eric’s Billion Dollar Movie to the wonderfully quaint Prince Charles cinema in Leicester square and I jumped at the chance. Along with two men with facial hair we decided to taste what fright fest had to offer. Unfortunately V/H/S was sold out so we had to settle for the less well known Chilean film that this review is for. And so that is how I was sitting in the UK Premiere screening of Hidden in the woods in the grand Empire Cinema.
Firstly I knew nothing of the film nor the director prior to the screening, so I was pretty much going in not quite knowing what to expect. After their mothers death Two sisters are kept trapped by their drug dealing father who rapes and brutalizes them. Following the birth of Manuel (from the same father due to rape) they finally report to the police where the father kills both officers and is sent to jail. From there a drug lord known as Uncle Costello searches for the two sisters to find his drugs which are hidden in the woods.
From that brief synopsis you can tell it won’t be an easy watch, the various themes involved even lead to the person introducing the screening with a warning to us of these graphic scenes. And he was right it wasn’t an easy watch. However not just for the constant shots of rape and sexual assault directed at the women in the film but because of how poor quality the film was. I shall start with the music purely by how obviously out of place it was to the action on the screen. With such dark themes one presumes an equally dark feeling soundtrack would be appropriate, but not here, no instead they went for a mix match of different sounds. Every now and then (usually after a harrowing event) a western style guitar chug would begin, this would be fine if it was indeed a western and our hero had just said that mission accomplished line after saving a village from a bunch of baddies, but this film doesn’t even remotely share any characteristics of a western (though the main drug lord does dress a bit like a sheriff)
Now to the dreadful dialogue, first off the men have only a small range of words ranging from that C word or that B word to when their not raping a woman with words like that D word or that S word. You get the gist other than Uncle Costello who shows a vague sophistication, the men in this purely speak when they need to “shut the woman up” and shouting or killing other men to show just how macho they are. It’s worth mentioning that this dialogue was not helped by the poor subtitles (at least for this screening I suspect it will be better once on DVD) often out of place or with spelling mistakes it made a film difficult or rather not worth following even more so. As one of my friends at the screening pointed out surely if you are taking a film to a festival you would make sure the subtitles were eligible.
I have always tried to go to a film as open minded as possible and be positive in hoping the film will deliver a great experience (this can be lessened by perhaps a blockbuster sequel for a franchise I don’t particularly enjoy e.g Transformers) Unfortunately no matter how hard I tried (it cost me £12 for the ticket trust me I really wanted to like this film) I and in fact all three of us came out of the cinema with hurtles of abuse directed at the complete wreck we had just had the misfortune of viewing.
At 90 minutes it’s not a long film and considering the type of genre it fits into (Exploitation Horror mainly) the plot is always going to allow for leniency. However unfortunately due to those aforementioned problems (dialogue, subtitles and music) by 60 minutes I left the cinema for the toilet. Whilst to some that may seem perfectly normal for me it’s very rare indeed, I never go to the toilet during a film on the basis of my enjoyment, put it this way if I do go loo loo then I no like you (by you I mean the film in question) add to the fact that in this case, I didn’t actually need the loo.
This film will no doubt hide behind its genre’s leniency on plot and contents, allowing it to simply say its all about enjoyment for which some people will enjoy. Well I’m sorry but apart from laughing at inappropriate guitar chugs, enjoyment was not had by this £12 paying customer which makes for poor value for money. I do hope they sort out the subtitles then at least I will have something to read during the film, well someone will as I won’t be watching it again.