Thursday, September 17, 2020

Murder in the Woods Review: A Latino Love Letter to Slasher Films

José Julián	...	Jesse Jeanette Samano	Jeanette Samano	...	Fernanda Chelsea Rendon	Chelsea Rendon	...	Chelsea Catherine Toribio	Catherine Toribio	...	Celeste Kade Wise	Kade Wise	...	Jule Jordan Diambrini	Jordan Diambrini	...	Gabe Soledad St. Hilaire	Soledad St. Hilaire	...	Nana Kurt Caceres	Kurt Caceres	...	Raul Rolando Molina	Rolando Molina	...	Jesus Max Chavarria	Max Chavarria	...	Kid Yelyna De Leon	Yelyna De Leon, Danny Treo

Release date: September 18, 2020 (VOD)
Running time: 90 minutes
Starring: José Julián, Jeanette Samano, Chelsea Rendon, Danny Treo 

MURDER IN THE WOODS is centered on a group of college friends who plan a getaway to celebrate a birthday party at a desolate cabin in the woods. Against his grandmother’s (Soledad St. Hilaire) demands, Jesse (José Julián), decides to go on a trip with his friends. He is immediately smitten with Fernanda (Jeanette Samano), a sweet girl from Chicago who he hasn’t seen in years. She is in town visiting her loudmouth cousin, Chelsea (Chelsea Rendon), who is ready to celebrate her birthday and plans to let loose with her boyfriend Gabe (Jordan Diambrini). Tagging along at the last second are Jule (Kade Wise), a funny and not serious class clown, and the very out-of-his-league Celeste (Catherine Toribio). Soon after arriving to the mysterious cabin in the woods, the group of teens discover the dark secret it holds, which forces them to fight for their lives.  

Latino Horror Slasher Film Homage Gore Thriller Suspense
Murder in the Woods has a lot going for it.  From the start it sets the tone right with a seriously epic soundtrack that gets you excited for what will happen next.  The music plays a big part of setting the scene and lets you know that something seriously dangerous is going to happen.  And the music changes to a few genres throughout, but is always a welcome addition.  It also has some good, old school horror effects and make up, with realistic looking wounds and blood.  I'm glad that the attention was placed on that as poor effects can make or break an indie horror film.  And one of the main draws for this film is that it is a horror film featuring a Latino cast, with touches here and there to show it.  You get some interesting cultural references, diverse characters, and just a different character from your typical horror movie.  And with this young cast, the film has a decidedly younger, fresh feel to it.  And it also includes Danny Treo!

Murder in the Woods also has plenty of camp, and that is both good and bad.  You can tell that this is meant to be a old school slasher film, with all the pros and cons that come with that.  Poor decisions, some cheesy dialogue, a little overacting, and plot twists are all present here.  The film tries to have a big twist at the end, but I thought it was projected pretty clearly throughout. And you have a cast of characters that are cookie cutter horror tropes, almost to a T.  Your love or dislike of this will determine how much you enjoy the film.  For my part, I liked parts of it but some of the overacting and poor decision making I didn't love.  But you take the good with the bad if you are making this type of homage and Murder in the Woods does commit to this style.  And I was definitely still entertained by it even with some of the hit or miss acting. 

Murder in the Woods is a Latino love letter to slasher flicks, with plenty of gore, a fresh young cast, and all the horror tropes you would expect from this genre. 

Rent it.

Horror, Slasher, Film, Fun, College, Party, Drinking, Smoking, Gore, Campy, Camp

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