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cast: Clint Howard, Michael Paré, Patrick Muldoon, Keegan Connor Tracy, and Will Sanderson

director: Uwe Boll

92 minutes (15) 2002
widescreen ratio 16:9
Metrodome DVD Region 2 retail

RATING: 5/10
reviewed by James A. Stewart
It was the Irish author Brendan Behan who said that "There is no such thing as bad publicity except your own obituary." This quite famous and overused quote fits the much maligned director Uwe Boll perfectly. He is possibly the most derided movie maker of the modern age and some would argue rightly so, especially with his quite horrific adaptations of video games. I reviewed one of his most recent efforts In The Name Of The King and the scars still burn.

With the above in mind, it can be difficult to come to a Boll film with an open mind. Expectations are low, and these expectations are rarely exceeded. However, with Blackwoods, it was like finding a toilet infused with the pleasant aroma of cheap air freshener. Before anyone gets excited, I am not saying that this movie was great or even good. It was okay. As with much of Boll's work the direction is fast and loose, and dare I say it, masturbatory. There are flash forwards, flashbacks, scene jumps and the confusing use of spooky music at inappropriate times. Boll is the master of the overcook and seems to have tried to fit all of his directorial inspirations into Blackwoods which in turn makes for a film which has a stuttering flow. Despite this there is a decent-enough pace to the movie and, at 90 minutes, there is not too much of a time commitment being asked of viewers, which is probably just as well.

Onto the plot: Matt (Patrick Muldoon) is haunted by a car accident he caused years before. He was drunk and killed a young girl. He is seemingly getting his life back in order and is on his way to visit his new girlfriend Dawn's (Keegan Connor Tracey) family. Before he knows it an axe-wielding maniac bursts into his hotel room and from there he is sent on a spiral of psychological terror as Dawn's family turn out to be a bit weird. Matt is forced to escape their justice by running deeper into the isolated Blackwoods, and further into the spiral of madness he is already on.

The Franklin family is the star turn in Blackwoods. They are playing a pretty generic hickey family, but do it well. Muldoon is a touch laconic in the lead role and doesn't really inspire whereas Michael Paré couldn't really be as stupid as the sheriff turns out to be, could he? Blackwoods is simply okay. This 2002 film was one of his earlier works and perhaps explains why he bucked the Teutonic pigeonhole of efficiency in everything in this film. In all honesty, he doesn't do anything greatly out of line from many young directors of low budget movies. This makes Blackwoods watchable, what is unforgivable for Boll is how many of the current criticisms of his work appear in this early offering.

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