“The Girl in the Woods” is a 24 minute short written by Tofiq Rzayev (go ahead…roll that name around on your tongue a few times, I’ll wait) and filmed in Turkish (I am guessing it’s Turkish, I don’t speak the language but it’s a safe assumption). It concerns a missing man, a small group of friends who search for him, and what one of them finds during that search.
Let’s talk about the acting, again, I do not speak Turkish, so I really cannot say if the actors were emoting properly, or even well. What I can say is that all of them seemed comfortable enough in their roles, and no one stood out as awful. So, on that front “The Girl in the Woods” at least gets a passing grade from me.
As for the overall story, there really is nothing special or original here. It is an age old mariner’s (although the setting is not in, on, or around the sea) tale told from as long back as tales have been told. However, there is a reason some stories stand the test of time…either they have specific cultural meaning, or they are effectively creepy regardless of setting or time frame.
Technically, the film is shot well. Nice color pallet, well light, with realistic locations and very little if any noticeable nods to a small budget. As for the audio, it all sounds just fine to me, with one notable exception that does in fact give away its low budget origins. Again, a passing grade on this as well.
Now we come to the crux of the matter…..the horror element. For me, as a reviewer, I watch every genre and sub-genre of horror, and find all of them have their own pluses and minuses. But horror needs to be scary. It needs to have an element of tension, something to set the viewer on edge, making us want to see what is going to come next. In this regard, “The Girl in the Woods” fails. Epically. No sense that anything sinister is happening until we are halfway through this short, and even then, the film is done in such a slow, methodical, ho-hum pace, that when we finally get to the climax we already knew it was coming. Not one ounce of excitement to be found.
Overall, I give kudos for trying to meld an ancient tale into a modern setting, ok on the acting and the technical side, but in the end there is just nothing here to grab a horror fan by the short hairs and make him or her pay any real attention. It is more of a drama/crime film than a horror. Pass on this and send 24 minutes doing ab crunches or squat thrusts – at least you will be using your time wisely.
1.5 / 5
THE GIRL IN THE WOODS is directed by Tofiq Rzayev and stars Deniz Aslim, Gizem Aybike Shahin, Mehmet Samer and Jevahir Jashgir.