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Within the Woods

Ellen, Bruce, Scotty and Shelly isolate themselves in a cottage to have a pick-nick and to play Monopoly. Bruce claims that an ancient Indian burial ground lies beneath their feet. He wisely adds: "Donít violate the rules of the dead". When he is having supper with Ellen outside, he finds a very old dagger while digging in the ground. He guesses it must have belonged to an American-Indian priest and informs Ellen that the dead were buried with such weapons in order to be equipped with them in a later life.

Bruce disappears, leaving Ellen alone and worried in the middle of the woods. An evil force chases her. She finds her way through the branches while screaming. Finally, she arrives safe at the cottage. Scotty and Shelly assume that the evil force was only Bruce who was trying to play a trick on her and they decide to go out looking for him. When they find him, they encounter a possessed Bruce. He hits them, stabs them and basically massacres them.

Kitchen knives are useless to combat the demon that Bruce has become. Ellen goes down to the cellar and finds a revolver. This firearm is her last hope at saving herself from the evil that wants to penetrate her.





Should great celebrities leave their first work in the shadows? They certainly shouldnít be ashamed of them. Giving the public access to films such as Within the Woods should be widespread. This film was destined to be a demo used to acquire the original funding for the masterpiece now known as The Evil Dead.

The actors kept their real names, exception made of Shelly. Bruce wears glasses and, here, heís the demon. Once possessed, he exclaims "Join us" a dozen times, which contrasts the "Iíll swallow your soul" found in the later episodes of The Evil Dead. The cottage isnít the same either. The twisted and floating camera angles that are emblematic of Sam Raimi were already an effective tool in Within the Woods. The special effects, concerning the violence in particular, are very rustic but still extremely interesting considering the productionís limited budget.

The film lasts half an hour. It is still successfully divides its introduction, its turnarounds and its suspense but it drops the character development. Any producer equipped with a micro-budget will follow a certain pattern of budget consumption. They will utilize ad-hoc solutions that wonít escape the viewerís eye: they will film in a family owned or abandoned location, they will use animal flesh bought at the supermarket as mutilated body parts and the film will feature improvised and/or inexperienced actors. The film isnít an exception to the rule but still manages to do a good job with the available budget.

Obviously, these remarks also take into consideration that the movie was made over twenty five years ago. Back then, it was shown in a few theatres and acclaimed for its uniqueness. Today, it remains a veteran that deserves to be known, especially by beginning producers who, just like Bruce Campbell and Sam Raimi when they started in the business, have a dream.

Final Thoughts

Memorables aspects
- Bruceís demon tears off his own hand after Ellen slices his wrist.
- Shelley is stabbed in the neck by Bruceís demon.

Memorables characters
- Bruce (Bruce Campbell)

Released in: 1978

Movie type: Horror - Gore - Monsters

In the same series:
Evil Dead, The
Army of Darkness

Films in similar category:
Hellbound: Hellraiser II
Return of the Living Dead III
Hellraiser: Bloodline
Demonic Toys

My evaluation
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( 2004-02-27 )  

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