Review: Hidden in the Woods / Cert: TBC / Director: Patricio Valladares / Screenplay: Patricio Valladares / Starring: Agustin Aguero, Daniel Antivilo, Eric Bustos / Release Date: TBC
Before our screening of Hidden in the Woods began, the Chilean director and writer Patricio Valladares took to the stage and, in broken English, told us what we were about to see he thought was “Very funny”. What followed was something that represents both an alarming trend in recent horror films brought to its distastefully extreme conclusion and the fact that a certain faction of ‘horror fans’ have no clue what makes horror one of the best genre’s there is to tell a layered and compelling story. Now we’re no prudes, some of our favourite films are amongst the most controversial of all time and really pushed boundaries but Hidden in the Woods is a film that crossed a line for us.
We start off in the ‘80’s with a brutal drug dealer murdering his wife as his two daughters hide outside. We then move forward some ten years and the brutal father rapes his eldest daughter all the time and eventually she gives birth to some kind of mutant child which they hide in the shed. Then one day the drug dealer father gets in some hot water with his mafia bosses and ends up in prison, the mafia boss then turns his attention to tracking down the daughters using his goons as the two sisters and their deformed offspring head off to their father’s stash house in the forest, making money through prostitution and seemingly getting raped by everybody they come across and eventually somehow turning to cannibalism. Oh and eventually their dad gets out of prison and goes after his own daughters again.
Our problem with this movie is this; if you are going to celebrate extreme depravity then fine, celebrate it. Previous films like Hobo with a Shotgun have proven you can do this and make a coherent and entertaining film. On the other side if you are going to make a film that condemns poverty and incest in the countryside and show us the plight of these poor women then do that. You cannot flip flop between the two and this is what Hidden in the Woods does. We see horrific graphic rape scenes, followed by tender scenes between the sisters talking of escape as plinky plonky piano music plays on the soundtrack. Puzzlingly this is then followed by scenes where the camera lingers on their jiggling cleavages or their long bronzed legs. Worst of all there is a prostitution ‘spitting’ montage which follows these scenes which has to be seen to be believed. By not falling on either side of the fence, director Patricio Valladares just simply offends people, and it comes across as immature, juvenile and just awful.
All of this might be saved if anything in the film was actually well executed but sadly the film is just as poorly staged as its confused message. There is tons of violence but it’s never quite clear who is killing who and how, every time violence occurs, there is a spurt of blood and the cameraman seems to fall over. On top of this the subtitles were seemingly typed live as the film happened, there are countless spelling and grammar errors. These obviously didn’t need to happen in the era of multiple language spell-check functions, one or two would be forgivable but when you see the word “hooker” spelled “hoocker” about ten times all sympathy evaporates.
Hidden in the Woods is quite simply one of the worst films we have ever seen. If you are young, full of piercings and have inappropriate thoughts about your sister then you may enjoy some of it, the rest of you should avoid it like it’s on fire.
Expected Rating: 6 out of 10