Camp Slasher She Came from the Woods (2023) Adds Supernatural Twist to Old Formula
Title: She Came from the Woods
First Non-Festival Release: February 10, 2023 (Theatrical Release)
Director: Erik Bloomquist
Writer: Erik Bloomquist, Carson Bloomquist
Runtime: 101 Minutes
Starring: Clare Foley, Spencer List, Cara Buono
Where to Watch: Check out where to find it here
For those that went to camp, the memories they retain last a lifetime. Thinking back on simpler times of fun, sun, and comradery is something that all former campers can do. Unless they went to Camp Briarbrook.
After decades of dormancy, a group of camp counselors unwittingly release a curse that had long been buried at their summer camp. Possessed by the spirit of a malevolent witch, the children begin attacking their counselors at the behest of their supernatural sire. It’s up to those very same counselors who initiated the slaughter to end the curse once and for all.
Easy-to-watch B-movie She Came from the Woods delivers a charming take on the camp side supernatural slasher.
Effective storytelling can prop up the weakest of ideas for a tall tale, this is especially true for the ones set in generic or overplayed places, like a summer camp. Thankfully, She Came from the Woods approaches its story with care to make it a unique offering compared to its peers. Combining the easy-to-follow formula from past summer camp slashers, She Came from the Woods adds a witchy element that helps the story stand out from the crowd. Instead of a more traditional route featuring a faceless killer or an overall haunting, this Tubi original opts for a curse to be the main inspiration of fear to the hapless camp counselors. The ritual itself is silly but that is what makes it feel right for what the film is trying to emulate and is memorable to boot.
Characters feel more like caricatures but most everyone manages to find a moment or two of greatness before being offed by the ghostly nurse. Like many slasher films before it, very little work goes into the construction of the characters in She Came from the Woods. The stereotypes are there: the “good” girl, the everyman, the battle wizened camp director, etc. Each is played to the point without much room to explore. Uneven performances mean that mileage will vary given the cast member, but the group does alright enough to not distract from the film. Two exceptions come in the way of bad boy Dylan (Adam Weppler) and affable jock Mike (Ehad Berisha). Weppler especially goes all out in portraying Dylan as the scared and pathetic man child that will backstab anyone to stay alive.
What She Came from the Woods lacks in a truly cohesive plot or inspiring characters it makes up for with dumb fun. Finding ways to keep the audience entertained while providing enough subversion to keep them on their toes, She Came from the Woods comes up with some fun moments. With dozens of possessed kids on their tail, the counselors are forced to think outside of the box to not harm the children that are so desperate to hurt them, something they know to be true thanks to the presence of Heather (Cara Buono), a survivor of a previous massacre who understands how the witch uses her powers. The typical discordance of children doing and saying things they shouldn’t is mirrored with the counselors doing the same to stay alive. These clever workarounds provide clarity for why the gang cannot simply runaway and create an environment where the characters must think up new plans, even when they inevitably fail. It’s all stitched together with a litany of fun barbs and exhilarating moments of horror.
Probably the worst aspect of She Came from the Woods manifests in its poorly executed take on the 80s. Throughout the film it is difficult to tell what decade the events onscreen are taking place. While the technology is appropriately dated, much of the speech, tone, and attire of the camp are not. It almost feels like cosplay to the point where it distracts from the film. There are worse things that a slasher film can do but by not sticking to its period more closely it runs the risk of confusing or distracting from the story it intends to tell.
Director Erik Bloomquist delivers an all-around entertaining jaunt in the woods with his work on She Came from the Woods. Great action and suspense, an interesting story setup, and beautiful location make all the ingredients for the perfect summer slasher. Its weak script and characterization do detract from the overall experience but She Came from the Woods should be commended for trying to do something different than its contemporaries. Tubi lucked out on acquiring this gem and all those thirsting for some classic thrills in a modern-day film should check this one out soon.
Overall Score? 7/10