Its+that+time+of+year+when+darkness+falls+early+and+a+movie+or+two+seems+just+the+ticket.

It’s that time of year when darkness falls early and a movie or two seems just the ticket.

What to Watch This Weekend (or not): From Clunkers to Classics

To watch or not to watch, that is the question . . .

November 19, 2021

The days are getting darker and we are craving a viewing distraction. One film is a classic trip to our favorite summer destination, another a less successful teen summer camp horror excursion from Poland, and a third movie that’s trying to figure out what genre it might be . . . See what three of our reviewers are serving up below.

“Nobody Sleeps in the Woods Tonight”: The Review Nobody’s Been Waiting For

Director Bartosz M. Kowalski has much to improve upon after a disastrous third film

The Polish poster for Nobody Sleeps in the Woods Tonight. Maybe the movies better in Polish; I sure hope so.

The Polish poster for Nobody Sleeps in the Woods Tonight. Maybe the movie’s better in Polish; I sure hope so.

When I was sick as a dog last Friday night, for some reason I thought a horror comedy would cheer me up. Boy, was I wrong! Nobody Sleeps in the Woods Tonight, directed by Bartosz M. Kowalski and released in 2020, is perhaps the worst film I have ever seen. With superficial characters, too much gore, and nothing comedic about it at all, it’s one of the most obnoxious slasher films the world’s ever seen.

The movie starts off with an interesting premise—I’ll give it that. Teens addicted to the internet gather at Camp Adrenalina, located in the middle of a Polish forest. Once they give up their electronics, the teens are split into groups, each of which takes a three-day hike with an assigned guide. The viewer only gets to see what happens to one of the groups, and of course it’s the one that experiences death—lots of it.

Before discussing the ridiculous plot itself, the characters deserve their own judgement. In a decision I can only label as lazy, the Polish director Kowalski includes five of the most well-known teen stereotypes: a shy girl (Zosia, played by Julia Wieniawa-Narkiewicz), a funny gamer (Julek, played by Michal Lupa), a fitness-enthusiast (Daniel, played by Sebastian Dela), an awkward guy (Bartek, played by Stanislaw Cywka), and an attractive chick (Aniela, played by Wiktoria Gasiewska)—and then there’s the clueless counselor, Iza (Gabriela Muskala). These characters are extremely impersonal, and by the end you feel no connection whatsoever to them. I’m glad that John Serba, in his film review for Decider, agreed, writing that “Zosia is the only character with half an arc.”

The five campers and their guide head off to explore. With what is to come, Aniela should not look this excited.

Now, although the film is supposed to be in the horror genre, the only uncomfortable scene is when Daniel and Aniela have a PG-moment on the beach when everyone’s sleeping. As is to be expected in a slasher film, Daniel and Aniela’s actions set into motion each of the movie’s subsequent murders.

After that scene, the movie just turns into a mess of gore and superficiality. Two twins, who were infected years ago by a disease, are now pimply monsters, and all they do is kill. Daniel is killed first, and then the rest of the characters die until Zosia is the only one left. I guess I should have felt happy for her for surviving, but I didn’t feel anything.

If I ever choose to watch a horror comedy film again, I hope it won’t be anything like Nobody Sleeps in the Woods Tonight. Next time I’m sick, I’ll resort to the Scary Movie series, Army of Darkness, or the 2011 thriller Contagion, affectionately reviewed here. And Kowalski, if you’re reading this, you should watch them too (I think you could learn a thing or two). I want the two hours I spent watching your movie on Friday back.

 

“Jaws”: Steven Speilberg’s Masterpiece

The movie famously opens in the height of summer when a young woman is eaten by our antagonist.

The movie famously opens in the height of summer when a young woman is eaten by our antagonist.

By Connor Fagan

“I think we need a bigger boat.”

Steven Spielberg’s Jaws is an instant American Classic that has influenced almost every movie to be in office.

The movie takes place in the fictitious town of Amity, Massachusetts, a hot summer travel spot. Production was done in Martha’s Vineyard, and the movie’s legacy actively lives there today. 

As I scrolled through the new additions to Netflix, Jaws caught my eyes. The movie famously opens in the height of summer when a young woman is eaten by our antagonist(Bruce the shark), as seen on the movie poster.

Park Circus

The film introduces the main character Police Chief Martin Brody who is an out-of-towner who quickly learns how Amity works. Brody opens an investigation on the shark attack but the mayor of Amity demonstrates how the town really works. With the fear of a shark, a loss of tourism would devastate the town’s economy. 

The shark terrorizes the town and kills off a young boy when the Mayor keeps the beaches open. The story tells how one shark was able to close down a whole beach. Speilberg does a great job of creating suspense in the movie that leaves the audience on their toes. 

Eventually, Brody meets with Quint and Matt Hooper, and they are tasked with killing the shark. After minor encounters with the shark, the characters begin to bond and add value to themselves. Once the audience begins to engage with these characters, Quint is killed and taken away in a bloody mess. 

Main character Brody fighting off Bruce the Shark.

Brody comes up with a solution to kill the shark and our story comes to a close. As the audience gets to take a break, they begin to take in the story. Jaws was extremely effective in its storyline, acting, and effect. At the time of the film, people were so affected by the movie that they began to stop swimming in oceans and even lakes

Today, watching the movie it is clear the effects of the action are dated, but the viewer can appreciate what the film has to offer. While many urged Spielberg to film in Hollywood because it would be cheaper, he was very stubborn about having the movie be filmed in the open seas. In an interview with EW Spielberg explained, “But had I to do it all over again I would have gone back to the sea because it was the only way for the audience to feel that these three men were cast adrift with a great white shark hunting”(EW).  

The element of the filming by the sea, makes the viewing experience very enjoyable and watching our characters begin to bond together, makes the movie feel real rather than just the everyday thriller. Jaws isn’t just created to scare the public, but to make quality content. I was left satisfied as the film ended with Brody and Quint swimming away back to Amity, bringing the movie to a pleasant close. 

Though the rest of the Jaws series was heavily disappointing, the original like many horror movies was a classic, and a great way to get the family together to watch a nostalgic summer classic.

Related Articles:

 

“Little Evil” Review: Too Little Humor and Too Little Evil

Netflix’s horror-comedy does everything expected of it in the least excellent way.

An+edited+image+of+the+movie+cover

The fire that this movie’s missing is, at least, included in this edition of its cover.

Netflix’s 2017 horror-comedy Little Evil, directed by Eli Craig, takes a surprising set of twists and turns.  It begins a comedy, actually becomes scary, and ends a bona-fide feel-good film.  The movie—centered around Gary Bloom (Adam Scott), a newly-wed to wife Samantha (Evangeline Lilly), suspecting his five year-old step-son Lucas (Owen Atlas) to be the Antichrist—checks off every box.  It might be hard to believe, then, that it’s an utter let-down. 

Aside from some tone-deaf jokes about death—beginning with a teacher’s suicide in one of the opening scenes and ending with Gary attempting to drown Lucas with weights disguised as pool floaties—and some missed one-liners, certain scenes were truly funny.  I may not have laughed, but some smiles surely contorted my face.

For a genre with horror as its first word, I did frankly expect to be a little more afraid.  It took the film a full hour—after what seemed to me either complete whiffs or just a lack of effort—to produce a genuinely scary scene.  

Netflix’s movie cover
Have Netflix? Have popcorn? Save them for another film.

At least it hit.  

Gary walking to the beat of creepy horror music through a pitch-black hallway in search of the demonic son he’s supposed to put to bed did seriously make me worry—albeit only for a split second—that falling asleep that night would no longer be quite so easy. 

A split second later, my heart-rate had returned back to normal when a stuffed animal doll was made the object of a jump scare in the truest example of an anti-climax. 

Still, I’ll give it to Craig; he did have me for a minute.

As Karen Han from The Verge puts it in her review, “genre parodies like this don’t work unless at least one of the characters is fully committed to the horror side of the horror/comedy ratio.”  I agree with this.  I disagree with the statement that “Atlas embodies every Damien-shaped fear filmgoers have ever had.” 

Maybe it’s on me for considering the genre while viewing the movie, but I just couldn’t take the majority of his death stares seriously.

Fortunately, at least, the film concludes with a cheerful epilogue.  Unfortunately, the positives come too late in the film to disclose any of the details without spoiling the film in its entirety.

For people wanting a true comedy, this movie isn’t that.  I would recommend you watch Scary Movie 1-5 and A Haunted House 1 and 2 before starting this one (somehow, only Scary Movie 4 and A Haunted House 2 are on Netflix).  In the words of Chris Anderson in his review from Medium.com, Little Evil “isn’t the Wayans Brother’s Scary Movie franchise, where nothing matters because it’s all for laughs, this is an original story that is supposed to have real stakes.”  

Yet I can’t find the stakes.  

Even in a scene that’s scary for the sole reason that it builds fearful anticipation of an ensuing jump scare, Craig couldn’t take his job seriously enough to make the thing breaking the tension anything other than a stuffed animal.

Even in a scene that’s scary for the sole reason that it builds fearful anticipation of an ensuing jump scare, Craig couldn’t take his job seriously enough to make the thing breaking the tension anything other than a stuffed animal.”

For people craving a more traditional horror film, there are too many universally adored (or should I say dreaded?) films—from slashers like Friday the 13th to slow-burners like Rosemary’s Baby to paranormal horror like Paranormal Activity and The Conjuring—to get caught up watching this one. 

The movie failed to make me laugh or scream enough to be labelled a valuable use of practically 90 minutes of my life.  In retrospect, I can see this film being the perfect showing in really only one setting: a family wishing to introduce their elementary school child to the horror genre without having to wake up in the middle of the night to tend to his or her nightmares.  

I found myself wondering whether I should subtitle this review as a horror-comedy or comedy-horror.  It seemed to me like a montage of funny scenes and scary scenes put together into a film with a continuous but average-at-best plot.

Leave a Comment

Neirad • Copyright 2022 • FLEX WordPress Theme by SNOLog in

Comments (0)

All Neirad Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *