The basic setup of Rootwood is this: paranormal podcasters Jess and WIll (played by Elissa Dowling and Tyler Gallant, respectively) are plucked by a Hollywood producer to look into a local urban legend deep within the forest called the Wooden Devil, which has been mentioned with a number of local disappearances.
If it sounds vaguely reminiscent to a certain iconic 1999 horror film (*cough* The Blair Witch Project *cough*), it bears more than a passing resemblance. Over 20 years ago, on a micro-budget, filmmakers Eduardo Sánchez and Daniel Myrick managed to capture a lightning-in-a-bottle moment with the confluence of a burgeoning internet and the handheld, shaky-cam shots that were mainstreaming on reality TV, creating a filmmaking zeitgeist that would last for decades later with their underdog film.
“…paranormal podcasters…look into a local urban legend deep within the forest called the Wooden Devil…”
Unfortunately, it’s simple plot, rough-hewn edges, and minuscule budget gave many filmmakers the confidence to believe they, too, could easily craft films with similar results, which leads us to titles such as Rootwood.
Our two main podcasters ask local social media darling Erin (played by Sarah Frech) to accompany them because they want to be on camera recording the events. She also takes pretty pictures of her fancy meals, so, of course, she’s qualified.
"…their excursion into the woods looks more like a glamping trip to Coachella..."