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Blackwoods (2002)

One of those interior psycho-dramas that needs a last-reel selection of 'what really happened' flashbacks to explain its twist. Callow youth Matt (Patrick Muldoon) heads off for a weekend in the backwoods with his new girlfriend Dawn (Keegan Connor Tracy) and keeps suffering from flash visions of the aftermath of a serious car accident, even as people along the way act strangely or react oddly to him. At a motel run by a sleazy pervert (lazily-cast Clint Howard), Matt is attacked by an axe-wielding maniac and Dawn takes off. The hero winds up tethered in the basement of a dilapidated farm, having been lured there by Dawn to stand trial for the death in a drunken car accident of the daughter of a dirt-poor family. Sentenced to be hunted to death by the farmer's three psychotic sons, he calls a friend for help (as he once used his pull to get out of the accident charges) while the local Sheriff (Michael Paré) puzzles out the mystery – which predictably turns out to be that Matt is imagining most of the ordeal as a way of punishing himself. It relies too much on bleary-cam flashes and guessable bits of business, but the performances are mostly fine – and the interesting-looking Tracy (who has a lot of credits like Final Destination 2 and White Noise) does a lot with an unusual leading female double role. Director / writer Uwe Boll went on to become a standing joke with a series of useless computer game adaptations, but here shows some ambition.
KIM NEWMAN

First published in this form here.


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