She Came From The Woods Image

If one believes that great cinema can only come from Hollywood, there are several indie filmmakers whose work should be sought out. One such person is Erik Bloomquist, based in the northeastern region of the States, who has steadily been pumping out some of the best and most interesting genre pictures of the last few years through his Mainframe Pictures outfit. Now, the writer-director-producer-actor-editor has turned his short 1980s slasher homage, She Came From The Woods, into a feature-length title.

Directed by Bloomquist, from a script he and his brother, Carson, wrote, the feature-length film is set in 1987 on the last night for kids at Camp Briarbrook. The camp was founded by Gilbert McCalister (William Sadler), who is ready to retire, much to the shock of his daughter Heather (Cara Buono). Her two teenage (early 20s?) sons, Peter (Spencer List) and Shawn (Tyler Elliot Burke), also help around the camp. After the bus carts away the last campers, Peter gathers the other counselors, including Lauren (Claire Foley), Dylan (Adam Weppler), Ashley (Sienna Hubert-Ross), and Ben (Dan Leahy), for a farewell toast.

“…the camp counselors are scrambling throughout the woods and campground to save their lives.”

Well, what he actually wants is to perform a ritual based on Briarbrook’s urban legend of the psychotic nurse Agatha (Madeline Dauer). Of course, it works too well, and now all the camp counselors are scrambling throughout the woods and campground to save their lives. All the while, Gilbert and Heather must confront their past demons in hopes of setting things right once and for all before everyone is killed mist brutally.

She Came From The Woods trots out the expected tropes of slashers from the time it is set in. However, unlike the nostalgia-for-its-own-sake thriller Summer Of ’84, the Bloomquists use them to either amp the tension or entirely subvert expectations. There’s a very funny moment where Dylan tries convincing Veronica to have sex with him as a way of forgetting all the horrific things happening. His moves are shot down. Then a later scene between him and another counselor goes to some unexpected places that reveal new depth to the previously one-dimensional Dylan. So the movie still gets the cliched horndog character but still does something new with him.

But really, this is a horror picture, so it is only as strong as the villain’s motivation and the kills. Well, the director goes all out here, as even though he’s done many an excellent genre offering, none have been this blood-spattered or chockful of viscera. The gore looks incredible thanks to special effects artist John Lauterbach and make-up effects wunderkind Amanda Pepin. As such, gorehounds will be endlessly delighted and frightened by the film.

She Came From The Woods (2022)

Directed: Erik Bloomquist

Written: Erik Bloomquist, Carson Bloomquist

Starring: William Sadler, Cara Buono, Clare Foley, Spencer List, Tyler Elliot Burke, Adam Weppler, Madeleine Dauer, Giselle Torres, Erik Bloomquist, etc.

Movie score: 9/10

She Came From The Woods Image

"…[Bloomquist] has steadily been pumping out some of the best and most interesting genre pictures of the last few years..."

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