If you know nothing about this movie and have recently acquired this new DVD or are interested in buying it I recommend not watching the included trailer or the introduction Boll Speaks, because the movie falls into the mindfuck category and both those extras will spoil it. It’s always best to go into these kinds of movies knowing little to next to nothing about them. Now, if you’ve already got the DVD and are scouring the web looking for some reviews to get a sense of its worthiness, possibly some spoilers and are continuing to read this review in hopes I might dump some onto the net, sorry, but I’m going to disappoint you. At least with the major ones, you might get some minor ones here, but, no, I will not be spoiling the major twist(s) for Blackwoods.
I saw parts of this movie on cable back in the early 2000s and it seemed to keep my interest. I even had plans to watch the entire thing at one point, but I don’t know what happened. I must have forgotten it was on, or something.
There’s a car accident at the center of this story that’s the catalyst for the events to follow, and it reminded me of my own car accident back in 1996. Of course, any near fatal accident is never far from your mind, even decades later, especially when you’ve suffered a serious head injury and it ends up being the unwanted gift that keeps on giving, even decades later. My short-term memory has taken the biggest blow, which became obvious just a year or two afterwards, but in 2013 my vision started to inexplicably suffer. A specialist I saw in Boston traced my double vision back to that goddamn accident.
I got off lucky though compared to Matt Sulivan (Patrick Muldoon); someone died in his, a young girl about his age. The cause of mine was an old lady running a stop sign; the cause of his was alcohol and distraction along a snowy country road. He hit the girl first, killing her instantly then slammed into a tree and his forehead into the windshield. It was the top of my head that collided with the windshield in my accident.
His journey into the ER, unconscious on a gurney, reminded me so much of mine too. The voice of a nurse saying my name over and over pulled me out of unconsciousness for a little bit. I was suffering from retrograde amnesia at that point and when I was told I was in a car accident I thought to myself, ‘impossible, I was just in my room looking at a VHS catalog I had gotten in the mail. How did I get out of the room and into a car then? What she said didn’t make sense.’ Sullivan is unconscious for a couple of days and when he comes to he’s told what happened and that a girl was killed. He even for a moment jokes with the doctor. Again another parallel with my accident. The scant moments I was conscious in the ER I was flirting with this nurse, joking if my hair got messed up in the accident or not. I cannot for the life of me remember what she looked like now but I can still remember her name—Wendy.
This car accident Matt has is played through out a good portion of the movie in quick flashes and dreams, meanwhile he’s met this new girl, Dawn (Keegan Connor Tracy), and they’re both off to meet her family in the Blackwoods, so named because that neck of the woods at night is pitch ass black, hence the term black instead of back. The moment we meet Dawn we can tell there’s something “off about her.” Maybe something “off” about Matt as well. When they’re having lunch in the diner of her hometown a waitress gazes strangely at him. Since it’s revealed later on his car accident happened 3-5 years prior, in the Blackwoods even, I naturally assumed she recognized him from that, but I was way off.
Things get weirder when they stop off at the local motel. After having sex Dawn goes for a walk and never returns. A local dressed in black and brandishing an ax-like weapon (not the one on the DVD cover) busts into the room and tries to kill Matt. Greg (Clint Howard), the motel owner, doesn’t believe it happened and neither does the local Sheriff (Michael Pare), who also seems to feel something about Matt is familiar.
Looking for Dawn leads him to her parents home and the revelation she and her family, (three crazy brothers, a father, a mother, and some other guy) are trying to kill him. They capture him, tie him up in the basement and construct this kangaroo court where they plan to judge him for a particular past transgression (hint, hint, remember the car accident?) and then kill him. It’s during these “court proceedings” we get what we think is the truth, but it’s only Matt’s truth, and this is where black is white, up is down and everything we thought we knew isn’t what we ever thought we knew.
I can speak no more about this movie.
It’s worth a look, yeah. I’ve never been a fan of director Uwe Boll, but I’ve never seen one of his movies all the way through. I’ve seen parts of House Of The Dead (2003), Alone In The Dark (2005), BloodRayne (2005). Blackwoods is the first Boll movie I’ve seen straight through and enjoyed. Muldoon does a pretty damn good job as the accident trauma victim who’s been wrestling with guilt over the accident for years. And Pare and Howard are always a delight when they show up in any movie, even if their parts fall into the supporting category.
Blackwoods has been on DVD before from various distributors but those are now all out of print. Olive Films is the latest to put it out on DVD, and DVD only, and widescreen for the first time. The 1.78:1 aspect ratio isn’t bad, though it looked a little tight in a couple of scenes. I kept wishing my remote had a button that would push the camera frame up a little. Other than that it’s perfectly serviceable. Olive Films added the aforementioned theatrical trailer and what I assume is a new extra, the aforementioned Boll Speaks (1:57) where director Uwe Boll talks ever so briefly about the film. You can play this introduction separately or with the film.
Audio specs come in an English Dolby Digital Stereo mode and there are no subtitles.