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By Steve Anderson | July 27, 2006

The woods are alive with the sounds of a surprisingly mundane evil here in the “Woods of Evil”.

So what we’ve got here, and it’s probably not going to come as much of a surprise given the title, are a whole lot of people going missing in the middle of a forest somewhere in Jersey. And for a while, people stop vanishing, until right about now.

Which is basically about the time when someone’s dumb enough to go into Jersey. Let’s face it—Jersey isn’t what you’d call a survivable horror movie destination. “The Last Broadcast” and the various other Jersey Devil inspired movies have proven that point in abundance.

Oh, and it gets worse. A down-on-his-luck-on-probation convict named Ray and his buddies Dice and Paco are about to kidnap the two rich young daughters of major real estate movers and hide them in–surprise!–the woods where everybody and his mother has been disappearing lately.

Needless to say, something’s going on in those woods that has absolutely nothing to do with Ray and company’s kidnap plot.

It sounds mediocre. It looks mediocre. And you’re probably not going to be any too surprised when I tell you that’s exactly what it is—mediocre. It’s trictly run of the mill. Sure, it does a fair job at building suspense—it takes the movie a good long while to actually show what’s behind all the evil in the woods—but it also has some pretty shoddy acting and some decent sized plot holes.

For instance, twelve minutes and one second in, we get the most pointless death in the movie as a character trips and falls, totally standard operation, and then spends the rest of her life (about fifteen seconds) scooting away on her rear while something advances on her and kills her with a rock. A rock. We don’t get much more low-tech than this, and even better, she’s left a car maybe fifty feet away from her. All she’d have to do to get away clean is get up and run. But no—all we get is scoot and scream.

Check out the “gifted” acting as a man gets a knife stuck in his left side, begins moaning, and clutches his right side. There’s a knife handle sticking out of his left side, but he’s moaning and gripping his right side like the knife’s on the totally opposite side of his body.

And for a finale…try out the sequence at the fifty seven minute four second mark as someone forgot to secure the camera. It’s bouncing. The shot is bouncing.

The ending is…wow. Just wow. It’s a fantastically anticlimactic ending as we discover the true source of the evil in the “Woods of Evil”….

…it’s a fat man.

A fat man with an axe.

Words cannot describe how astonished and yet disappointed I am by this development. The evil in the Jersey woods that claimed so many lives and terrorized the most terrifying state in the Union is a fat guy with an axe!

Wow. Again.

The special features are just trailers for “Lost Things”, “The Evil One”, “The Wickeds”, “Tears of Kali”, “The Dawn”, and “Zombie Night”.

All in all, “Woods of Evil” is a mundane suspense thriller with its share of triumphs and troubles. Worth a rental, especially if everything you want to see is out already and you just need a fast horror fix.

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