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Beyond the Woods

The first full-length feature for writer/director Sean Breathnach, Beyond the Woods is a low-budget independent horror movie that wears its influences quite proudly upon its sleeve. The title alone should give you an inkling as to where the film is set and the synopsis is a fairly well-trodden path to the kind of supernatural delights that the likes of Sam Raimi and Eli Roth would delight in making the most of, i.e. a small group of people trapped in a secluded cottage in the middle of the woods with some sort of impending doom about to befall them. Yes, Beyond the Woods touches on all of those familiar tropes and spends a great deal of time setting up said impending doom which, depending on your tolerance for stereotypes and wooden line delivery, could be a great or not so great way of spending 82 minutes.

Most of the first act is spent setting up the characters – three couples and one single male friend who has recently split from his girlfriend – as they meet up at the holiday cottage and immediately a lot of exposition is given as everybody notices a foul smell in the air and Jason (Sean McGillicuddy) informs all that a sinkhole has opened up a couple of miles away and the smell is burning sulphur, which is handy as it means everybody is best to stay in the house and not expose themselves to the stench. Unfortunately, Ray (Mark Lawrence) is a workaholic and addicted to his phone so in order to get a reception he has to wander off into the dark garden, much to the annoyance of his wife Lucy (Irene Kelleher), and so begins the meat of the story as already fragile relationships begin to deteriorate even quicker in the close surroundings of the cottage, people’s motivations become more sinister and to top it all off, an ancient evil force escapes from the sinkhole and stalks our holidaying septet. If it’s not one thing, it’s another…

Duration: 84 min


IMDb: 5.6

Beyond the Woods