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A group of urbex enthusiasts travel to the backwoods of Appalachia to capture footage of abandoned houses, when they unwittingly become the subjects of a much darker video – made by a different kind of “enthusiast.”
An okay entry into the found footage genre, Red Woods (2021) follows similar fare of its predecessor, Book of Shadows: The Blair’s Witch 2 (2000), luring a loved one into some woods to find their lost/missing sibling. Michael Barnett stars as Cross, a paranoid urbexer (urban explorer) whose brother has gone on ahead with his own crew to explore the woods of Appalachia.
Save the whole idea of urban exploration being, in my opinion, pretty dangerous, the characters were admittedly the norm for most found-footage movies: they acted pretty stupidly in the face of grief and fear, and did not take care when entering dilapidated, abandoned houses. Of course, a few characters get hurt this way, but this is how the director and writer, Nicolas Danko, gets the story moving. A few dead bodies are uncovered, and then we meet Neo Fuego, or Devlin.
This is where the movie differs from Book of Shadows as there’s no supernatural force at work here. These woods are stalked by this Neo Fuego, whose character is explained in bits and pieces throughout the movie. The way Neo’s character tied into the character’s backstory and the plot was interesting once it clicked, but felt like useless information before the ‘big reveal.’ So if you’re not paying attention you could miss how everything adds up.
Though this little tidbit doesn’t do anything special to round out the story to anything meaningful in this writer’s opinion. Red Woods doesn’t do many things different from other found footage movies.
It did, however, give us something more grounded than the usual supernatural fare that surrounds the genre, and is more of a thriller in its execution.
Let us know if you liked Red Woods in the comments!