Grim Woods, aka The Book Of Nightmares, is a horror anthology consisting of three tales, plus the wraparound story. The wraparound involves four camp counselors, who at night, sit around a campfire and read from the Book of Nightmares. Aside from the three tales, there is also a poem that appears to be directly about the counselors.
The first story begins as John (Rob Craig) and Laurie (Amanda Benoit) are preparing for date night. Babysitter Riley (Kendra Kachur) shows up to watch the two young kids, Eric (Jaden Scornaiencki) and Brittany (Si Nui Yun). After Riley put Brittany to bed, she hears something. That is when Brittany informs Riley that her beloved clown doll, Freakshow (Michael A. Dotson), is missing. The clown has become sentient and is attempting to murder everyone in the household.
This segment features the absolute worst acting in Grim Woods, which is quite a feat considering how poor the rest of the movie plays out. No one is convincing or feels authentic. However, it is the most interesting and well-thought-out story. There’s a pretty great twist at the end, and the editing builds suspense. Plus, the score is excellent.
“…a horror anthology consisting of three tales, plus the wraparound story.”
Tale two follows Lydnsy (Sydney Nolan), who is in a new relationship with Kyle (Jeff Byrne). She gets her fortune told at a carnival by Olga (Esther Gold). It doesn’t go well, and Lydnsy discovers a curse has been placed on her. Now, she has to find a way to remove it before her flesh completely falls off.
The opening montage of Lydnsy and Kyle playing games and riding rides at the carnival is excellent. Without a word of dialogue, their relationship is well established. Plus, Esther Gold, as Olga, gives the movie’s overall best performance, even though it is still lousy community theater-esque. And that is all the praise for this segment.
The story is bland and forgettable, how she became cursed is murky, how the curse works is even hazier, and the manner in which she hopes to get rid of it is remarkably dumb. On top of it, Nolan is just not an engaging enough screen presence to compel the audience to keep watching for the 20-minute runtime of this story.
The last narrative to be read from the book is about a group of friends hitchhiking to Amsterdam. The Americans stop to rest for the day in Delft, which is a little town surrounded by woods. That night everyone is awoken by noises from those woods. Going to investigate, they discover the sound to be the deadly call of the Sirens.
"…How in the ever-loving hell did the writers...not realize that they never introduced their main character to the audience?"