Starring Elissa Dowling, Tyler Gallant, Sarah French
Directed by Marcel Walz
Sometimes, it’s the act of simplicity and the general, basest sense of fear that can be implemented into a horror film, and when the ingredients are mixed correctly with equitable pacing and characters that you can assimilate with…there you have it – a movie that BEGS to be watched late at night with the lights off and a healthy complement of tasty alcoholic beverages to assist the undertakings. I’d been graciously offered an opportunity by director Marcel Walz to check out his latest film, Rootwood, some months ago, and I had a rip-roaring, sirens-blazing review ready to get plastered all over the web to sing the praises of this film to the horror masses. Well, I lost that aforementioned review during the early 2018 crash of a shitty laptop, so I’m going off of what’s gathered in the furthest reaches of my ever-dissipating gray-matter, so stick with me.
The film comes crammed with faces that indie-horror fans should remember quite easily – with names such as Elissa Dowling, Sarah French, Tyler Gallant, and Tiffani Brooke Fest, the possibility for some serious shrieking and shuddering is at hand, and damn does it lift this film up high! The premise is set with Dowling’s and Gallant’s characters as a couple of paranormal podcasters who get the call from an overly involved Hollywood movie producer played to excellence by the camper with a sturdy piece of firewood between her legs – Felissa Rose (pardon the poor Sleepaway Camp joke). It seems that their podcast has attracted her attention, and she’s offering the chance to have them construct a documentary about the curse of the “Wooden Devil” – the name alone makes those little neck hairs salute the flag, ya know what I mean?
So our duo of internet ghost-devotees grab their close-pal Erin (French) to tag along as an assistant, and they head off towards the imposing and oh-so-ominous Rootwood Forest to set up shop and kick off the proceedings accordingly. Needless to say, it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out that once this trio sets their feet in the coppice, the bad juju begins to take form, and the mood suddenly shifts from “we’re a threesome about to rope in the riches” to “we’re a threesome who will be rightfully filling the back of their britches with the scary-sauce.”
Walz drops our asses dead in the forest and boxes the audience in with left and right hooks full of fright and anxiety, and the way that it’s emitted from his cast shows the relationship that he has with his actors – positive accord leads to positive results, especially in this facet; and it works like a charm. Also, the lack of lighting in several shots gives the viewer a sense of night closing in ever-so-quickly – dimming lumination equals dimming hopes, and while one aspect of this film doesn’t overtake the others, it’s a balanced attack of scares and apprehension that gives this presentation a leg up on many of the horror films being churned out of the factories these days.
My advice for you as it pertains to Rootwood is simple – wait until midnight, kill the lights, grab some cold ones, and turn the volume up on this sucker – this one is just too much fun to pass up.