In the annals of low-budget horror, movies are seen as mythical for their ability to reflect a director’s vision despite a lack of resources. Greywood’s Plot finds itself strangely in a queue to be one of these films but is unaware that it lacks the foundational ingenuity to enter such company. Plagued by director Josh Stifter and Daniel Degnan’s poor writing and a tedious build-up, little is engineered to make the proceedings memorable.
The plot begins with fare that is all too typical at this point: A nerdy paranormal blogger, Dom (Josh Stifter), and his best friend Miles (Keith Radichel) are compelled away from their go-nowhere lives to New England. They venture into a cabin in the forest due to a tape from the titular Greywood Plot’s owner Doug (Daniel Degnan). Deep in the woods, all manner of horror can befall Dom and Miles.
Except that barely happens. Most of Greywood’s Plot is spent listening to the two friends converse awkwardly about pointless topics. These discussions are studded with swearing, as though they are teenagers who have nothing better to say. This is not helped by the fact that Dom and Miles are completely one-dimensional, which is ironic considering all the time they waste talking instead of building history or depth. In one scene, Dom finds himself overwrought by his friend’s actions. Still, instead of showing his emotion in any poignant way, he literally tells the audience via his video camera how frustrated he is and how betrayed he feels. It is all an overbearing exercise in tedium.
“Deep in the woods, all manner of horror can befall Dom and Miles.”
When anything of interest happens, the movie is already half finished. But by that point, one cares little for the characters. To make matters worse, the situations conjured are far from riveting and are more like watching someone run through a theme park of supposedly scary things.
Conversely, there is a real charm to the visuals. Greywood’s Plot is shot in lo-fi black and white, almost like archival footage of lost and ruined things. This works incredibly well when surveying landscapes, rooms, and other natural objects. However, it also highlights the lack of genuine talent in the acting and writing departments, giving the film an amateurish aftertaste. For example, Doug is introduced as a “Greywood,” but when met onscreen, he’s referred to as “Greywoods,” plural, several times in succession. This is further exacerbated by inconsistent editing, which creates other continuity issues. A low budget should not be an excuse for such rudimentary laziness.
Special recognition needs to be given to some of the creature work and practical effects, as this is where the genre offering showcases real heart. However, as a whole, this is a perfect illustration of gore not equaling horror. While there are certainly a few truly affecting shots, none of it is anchored to anything grounded or human, making it all feel hokey. The result is that Greywood’s Plot feels like a first draft. Stifter has all the raw ingredients to create a story of note, but he almost never refines those elements in a way that resembles anything of substance.
"…shot in lo-fi black and white, almost like archival footage of lost and ruined things."