When a local park ranger warns a group of friends to stay out of the woods they can't resist. Soon they learn just how dark some secrets can be.
Written By: Clay Moffatt
Directed By: Clay Moffatt
It may seem like a major cliché, and it really is... but there's a reason we have so many movies that take place in a cabin, in the woods, far from the city lights. Be it an indie flick or a major studio production, we all just know that isolation always stirs up that subconscious dread we all have... the fear of being alone, with no help on the way. "Silver Woods" is one such film, a group of friends plan a weekend at an old... sorry, in this case it should be "really nice looking" cabin in the woods. Reconnecting in style and privacy. As is always the case, things go wrong, reminding us why city living is good. Nothing ever happens in a city right? Aside from the normal hum-drum crime a-la Law & Order. Why do we, as human beings, isolate ourselves to have a good time or connect? We've all seen horror movies right? Maybe it's because we know deep down inside that film is film, and real life is real life. But what happens when the "house" finally wins a round and we're stuck in a dangerous or unusual situation. It could happen... and that's why these stories always benefit from a cliché setting. Simply because it "could" happen. Nobody is ever as safe as they think.
Clay Moffatt has put together a decent thriller on what was essentially no budget. You always have to applaud a man who does something just for the love of it. Finishing a feature length film is hard enough, never mind to finishing one with no money... and have it turn out to be actually enjoyable. "Silver Woods" is not totally unique, but has a fresh enough twist to be interesting. It's not technically perfect... far from it actually. It also doesn't always feature stellar performances from the cast. With all that said however, there's enough really good moments... in all the above listed areas... to really keep you watching, wondering what's going to happen next. If Mr. Moffatt's goal was to keep us watching till the bitter end, he's succeeded, even through any perceived shortcomings. With that kept in mind, "Silver Woods" is a huge success.
Things are definitely not perfect on the technical side. "Silver Woods" consists of a lot of "seemingly" hand-held shots and unbalanced images. Had a tripod been used for many of these, I think it's safe to say this film would have looked ten times better, and even slipped a lot closer to that "studio" look instead of the indie one. Surprisingly, I found the audio easy to hear and follow along with for the most part. Something not a lot of low budget films can boast. The edit was done well enough, but still clearly not a "production house" assembly. Mainly, a dedicated, professional editor may have helped with some of the awkward acting that pops up, with a minimal hit to the run-time. Everyone always says that editors are a dime a dozen, and editing is an easy job. It's not. The edit makes or breaks the film. Period. Very few cases exist where an editor, directly involved with a project, can do a better job than an outsider. Sure, those times do exist, but they are the exception, not the rule. When you're close to a project you simply loose your objectivity. You may want to keep a line or shot in the film that you, personally love... when in reality it should have been cut or changed.
I mentioned the acting contained within "Silver Woods" earlier, so now let me touch on that. Mixed bag. I can write that by the end of the film, the "hollow" factor does fade, and the cast end up delivering one hell of a final result, when it counted the most. The second half of the film does away with a lot of the less than stellar elements; such as canned dialog and seemingly awkward line deliveries. It's a no-brainer for me to write that the second half of the movie elevated my overall rating considerably. Excellent job to the cast for nailing it when it counted. This brings me back to the editing. A lot of the odd-feeling line deliveries could probably have been fixed with a slightly slicker edit. I guess we'll never know, but I truly feel that was the case.
In the end, I really enjoyed my time spent with "Silver Woods" and have no regrets whatsoever. It was Clay Moffatt's vision to entertain the viewer, and that's just what he did. Any shortcomings I perceived at the start of the film, vanished before the credits rolled. The general story kept me interested, and I truly felt the gritty nature of the film enhanced the overall experience. Keeping things real is where the cast of this production easily earned their marks; and it's safe to say that I personally, would gladly add this title to my personal collection. Well done all around.
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