Grim Woods Image

Grim Woods

By Bobby LePire | February 28, 2020

Before critiquing this final portion, allow me to explain how shoddily Grim Woods is written. If you head on over to the IMDb page for this film, you will find that only five actors are listed. You will also see that their character names are not attached. In order for me to get the names of these characters and their respective actors, I had to rewatch the movie with captions on. Then when a character name appeared, I had to comb through the credits to find that actor. Look, I get that the IMDb page being incomplete is not the filmmakers’ fault, and that is not what I am complaining about, just using it as a springboard.

The problem comes from the fact that most of these characters are not actually introduced to the audience. John and Laurie from the killer clown bit are not introduced using those names. They are Mr. and Mrs. Woodward, and the names John and Laurie are not used once in it. See, with the captions on, sometimes, if the speaker is not on the screen, it will list that character name in parentheses. That is how I discovered the names of most of these characters and actors. Yes, some people like Olga, Kyle, or the children from the first story are directly mentioned.

But Lydnsy is never called by her name, not once. How in the ever-loving hell did co-writers Hannah Craig, Ryan Byrne, and Danial O’Brien not realize that they never introduced their main character to the audience? That is such piss poor writing it boggles my mind. Yes, this lack of clarity extends all the way to the awkward dialogue and clunky exposition.

“…writing is so bad that the script literally forgets to introduce main characters properly and never explains specific plot threads.”

For this reason, I don’t have the names of the people in the last story of Grim Woods. Even jumping through like I was, given the number of folks in this segment, I still could not accurately tell who was who with 100% certainty. As such, I don’t have them listed, and I apologize.

Now, this anecdote is the most ambitious of all the stories here, including the wraparound. It wants to be a slow burn that slowly ramps up the crazy until the audience is entirely unnerved. Due to poor editing, bad sound design, and flat characterization, it fails at this goal. The ambient noises of the woods are far too loud to allow tension to be built, and the characters are so dumb the viewer does not care if they live or die.

Then the conclusion of the wraparound happens. There’s a nifty idea at play here, with the tales from the book taking on an almost meta-angle. But it is not given enough room to breathe, so scares are scarce to come by. This leaves all watching bored, just as they were with all the other segments.

Even allowing the leeway of being a small, independent horror production, Grim Woods falls short on every level. The best performance in the film is not much better than a nervous eight-grader delivering a monologue during the school play. The writing is so bad that the script literally forgets to introduce main characters properly and never explains specific plot threads. The direction, from Byrne and O’Brien, is filled with poor framing and clumsy edits, the sole exception being the first two minutes of the second story. Avoid this at all costs and watch the vastly superior Southbound instead.

Grim Woods (2019)

Directed: Ryan Byrne, Danial O'Brien

Written: Ryan Byrne, Danial O'Brien, Hannah Craig

Starring: Rob Craig, Amanda Benoit, Kendra Kochur, Michael A. Dotson, Esther Gold, Sydney Nolan, etc.

Movie score: 2/10

Grim Woods Image

"…How in the ever-loving hell did the writers...not realize that they never introduced their main character to the audience?"

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  1. Robert Barry Francos says:

    All the information on IMDB are under The Book of Nightmares. This is often done when a film changes names. Note that I have noting to do with the film other than I am also about to review it for my own blog (under the name of Richard Gary), but it shows shoddy research on your part. I expect more from a venerated site/magazine like Film Threat. 8)

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