A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that The Village in the Woods is a 2019 British horror movie in which a young couple lured into a remote and dreary village find themselves targeted by sinister forces. Expect some horror movie violence and imagery throughout. A woman is shown tied to a bed, on the verge of being raped (not shown). A man is burned alive in a cult ritual. Jump scares throughout. Nightmarish imagery of people dressed in costumes while having sex. Brief topless nudity in a window. Upon entering a building, a man hears a couple having sex. "F--k" used several times. Characters get drunk on champagne and are drugged. Man shown passed out in bed with a bottle of booze next to his pillow. While the violence is more often implied than shown, the movie is still quite scary and is best for older teens and up.
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What's the story?
In THE VILLAGE IN THE WOODS, Jason and Rebecca have arrived in a dreary, fog-filled village. Their plan is to pull an inheritance scam that will provide easy money and the financial well-being they've been lacking. When their car stalls out on the outskirts of the village of Coppers Cross, they enter the town and soon meet Emily (Therese Bradley), a welcoming matriarch of the village whose friendly engagement with Jason and Rebecca seems a little bit off, to put it mildly. Nonetheless, Jason and Rebecca enter The Harbour Inn, the building that they're claiming to now "own," and find it to be a dismal fixer-upper, and top of all that, a cantankerous man named Arthur gives them an unfriendly welcome, and strongly implies that he knows the real reason why they're there. Therese and other villagers give Jason and Rebecca an impromptu welcoming party, but Rebecca is starting to suspect that something is very wrong with The Harbour Inn and the villagers gathered around them. She starts to believe that the villagers know their secret, and there are some sinister forces at work. Rebecca must find a way to convince Jason to give up on their scam, and leave the village before they learn the horrifying truth about what the villagers are really intending to do with them.
Is it any good?
The Village in the Woods comes across as intending to be a tribute to many horror movies of the past, particularly British horror of the '60s and '70s, but the result is contrived. It's like the filmmakers really want you to know that this titular village, Coppers Cross, is creepy, unsettling, and dismal, and that the villagers aren't what they seem. Actually, the villagers seem creepy from the get-go, with voices belying something sinister beneath the false smiles and overdone courtesy. The expected plot twists aren't terribly surprising, and there's a point in the second act where everything is so beyond established, thoughts meander, and you spend more time thinking about how the lead actor looks like a bearded Keith Moon, the late drummer of The Who, than whether or not they’ll survive this inheritance scam gone wrong.
It's not a bad movie, but it fails to chart any new ground out of all the movies that influence it. There's a feeling that one has seen this before, many times and in many ways. Creepy small-town folk, big-city strangers, death cults, ritual sacrifice, pagan costumes, and so much thick fog. Nothing truly unique comes out of it. There's nothing wrong with the acting, as everyone is doing what they need to be doing to set the eerie mood and create the suspense, but there just isn't enough to the story to make it especially memorable. Which just goes to show that the best nods to creative influences aren’t by imitating what they did, but rather taking what they did as a starting point while creating something entirely new.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about horror movies. How does this compare to other horror movies you've seen?
Some horror movies are heavy on blood and gore, while others are more reliant on suspense to create scares. Where does this movie fall? Why?
What are some other examples of movies in which a couple enters a strange small town to find creepy characters and horrific events?
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