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Deep In The Woods
cast: Clotilde Courau, Clement Sibony, Alexia Stresi, Vincent Lecoeur, and Maud Buquet

director: Lionel Delplanque

84 minutes (18) 2000
widescreen ratio 2.35:1
Tartan Terror DVD Region '0' retail

RATING: 7/10
reviewed by Denise Wayne
French horror thriller about a troupe of five young actors hired by reclusive millionaire Baron Axel de Ferson, as a private show for his autistic son's birthday party. The two guys and three girls perform a campy, arty version of Little Red Riding Hood, but there's a coldly menacing faerie tale atmosphere to the rest of this film's story, complete with homoerotic undercurrents and a blatant lesbian sequence. Creepy goings-on at the Baron's chateau continue through a long night when the actors are invited to stay, with the weird boy's mood swings (he's prone to stabbing his own hand at the dinner table), a mystery voyeur, and the intrusion of local cops who are hunting for a madman.
   Deep In The Woods (aka: Promenous-nous dans les bois) is the first feature directed by Lionel Delplanque, who is obviously influenced by Italian filmmakers such as Dario Argento. The plot maintains a haunting appeal to the very end with the qualities of strange reality and fragile magic that are characteristic of several borderline fantasy pictures, and the metaphorical spectre of a wolf - pantomime villain, sexual predator, savage hunter, cunning schemer, murderous rapist, etc - is a presence felt strongly throughout much of the film. Delplanque's attractively youthful cast soon become a gang of bickering victims sacrificed to the director's wholly unpredictable scare tactics but, rather unfortunately, Deep In The Woods is not entirely unpretentious and a number of scenes have stylish visuals without any relevance to the plot or character development. The result is something like a banquet with lovely wines and a choice of desserts, but no meat and potatoes.
   DVD extras: anamorphic transfer plus Dolby digital 5.1 soundtrack, in French with English subtitles. Also text filmographies, movie notes by horror genre critic Alan Jones, trailer, and Tartan promo reel.