Reviews | Written by Martin Unsworth 27/09/2021

HIDDEN IN THE WOODS (2012)

Ana (Siboney Lo) and her sister Anny (Carolina Escobar) haven’t had the best life. Their mother has been killed by their father Felipe (Daniel Antivilo), who uses their remote home to store drugs for crime lord Costello (Serge François). If that’s not bad enough, Felipe has raped Ana, who later gave birth to Manuel (José Hernandez), who is kept in a barn and treated like an animal. As time goes on, the authorities get wind that some domestic abuse might be happening, and a pair of police officers arrive to question Felipe. Fearing for the drugs, he carves up the officers with a chainsaw before being apprehended. The girls and their brother, however, head for a safe house further into the woods unaware that Costello’s men are keen to get his gear back.

Hidden in the Woods isn’t a pleasant film. The atrocious acts depicted are incredibly disturbing and unflinchingly realistic. Even the gore is impressively done considering the film’s low budget. There’s a grindhouse aesthetic that isn’t contrived as many of the throwback films we’ve seen over the past decade. There’s no scratches or ‘lost reels’. Hell, there’s not even any attempt to make the shot-on-digital visuals look like celluloid. This is raw, visceral, and unrelentingly brutal.

The film is co-written and directed by Patricio Valladares and came to the attention of actor Michael Biehn, who wanted to remake the movie in English, but brought back Valladares back to direct once more. This original version is rough n’ ready, and is all the more effective for it. The film certainly isn’t for the faint of heart, but is well made and unpredictable.

This uncut Blu-ray from Warped Releasing contains enough bonus features to keep fans of the film satisfied. The ‘making of’ documentary is essentially behind the scenes raw footage with no attempt to contextualise or give insight - the interview with the director sorts that side of things out - but gives the viewer a glimpse into the production so we know it wasn’t as grim as it appears on the screen.

You can purchase Hidden in the Woods here.