Lost in Spain
I'm seriously confused about how to properly write a critique on "TheBackwoods" without being either overly negative or positive, butnevertheless express my respect to the cast and crew for the film theyintended to make. This is a genuine throwback to the era of 70'sexploitation film-making, with a truly grim atmosphere anduncompromising violence, but at the same time it's completelyunoriginal and derivative. I've read an extended interview withwriter/director Koldo Serra, in which he declares that he doesn'tunderstand why so many horror movies are being remade nowadays eventhough the originals aren't open for any kind of improvement. Thatmight very well be true, and Lord knows I wholeheartedly agree withsuch a statement, but Serra goes so far in 'bringing homage' to theoriginal classics that he practically copies them as well. "TheBackwoods" isn't a remake of any existing 70's flick, but it easilycould have been, since it bluntly borrows elements from "Deliverance","Straw Dogs" and "The Wild Bunch".
Cleverly set in the year 1978, so that the script at least didn't hadto take into account malfunctioning mobile phones and navigationsystems losing their signal, "The Backwoods" revolves on two couplesspending a little vacation deep in nearly impenetrable woods of theSpanish Basque region. Paul, the oldest and wisest of the four, boughtthe old house of his grandmother there and wants to show the beautifulregion to his wife and friends. After some very unfriendly welcomingvibes in the local bar already, the quartet faces the ultimateconfrontation with the primitive backwoods community when Paul andNorman discover a neglected young girl chained up in a hidden cabin.The girl is the outgrowth of a humiliating family scandal, and thelocal patriarch Paco so desperately want to keep her existence secretthat he mobilizes the rest of the locals for an old-fashioned manhunt."The Backwoods" is an uneven mishmash of a film in which downrightpowerful sequences are altered with dreadful clichés and predictableplot twists. The gritty and relentless atmosphere of 70's survivalflicks is marvelously re-created, but the script doesn't have thecourage to genuinely shock the audience with twisted little details orperverted undertones like they did in the old days. The filminglocations are stupendous and the producers managed to attract afantastic cast (including the brilliant Gary Oldman and VirginieLedoyen). It's really a shame this film doesn't feature anything trulyunique, because I really wanted to like and recommend it.