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Film / The Woods

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The Woods is a 2006 deconstruction of the horror genre, with a refreshingly low body count, directed by Lucky McKee.

It follows Heather, a rebellious teenager played by Agnes Bruckner, who is sent to an all-girl boarding school set against a large and spooky forest. She is given a scholarship after circling random answers on a test paper and starts to make a strong friend, and possible lover, in the nerd girl Marcy. From there we see Heather slowly realize the school is not all it seems and the teachers running the school are very closely linked to the forest and the disappearance of several classmates. Bruce Campbell plays a smaller role as Alice's father, Joe.


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Tropes

  • Alpha Bitch: Early in her tenure, Heather is dogged by Samantha, a blond-haired bully, and her posse.
  • An Axe to Grind: A wood-splitting axe was how the headmistress was dispatched by the three witches, according to school legend. And, this (apparently even the same axe) is how Heather disposes of the witches in the end.
  • Big Damn Heroes: Just when things look worst, Joe throws off his incapacitation, smashes through the doors of the school with an axe, and prompts Heather to action.
  • Boarding School of Horrors: The school is dogged with rumors of mysterious student disappearances, and possibly an axe-murder a hundred years ago of the headmistress. When Heather is taken to her room, she learns that the empty bed belongs to a student to attempted to kill herself in Chemistry class. She then meets that girl in her dreams and learns that the truth is much worse...
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  • Combat Tentacles: The woods steals away students and kills interlopers via weaponized tree-roots and branches.
  • Fiery Redhead: Heather is a partial aversion in that she actually tends to be relatively passion, albeit quite capable of violence once her ire is raised.
  • Good All Along: Samantha, surprisingly, with it being revealed she is aware of the evil in the school and trying to fight it, with her bullying somehow being meant to keep the witches from discovering how powerful Heather and Marcy are.
    Samantha: You think your the only one who hears the voices?
  • No Romantic Resolution: Marcy and Heather; they fail to even verbally acknowledge each other after Heather finds her alive and her father saves them.
  • Papa Wolf: In the third act, when Joe discovers how bad things are and Heather is taken, he grabs an axe and charges the witches. The witches incapacitate him pretty quickly, but the witches had to let Heather go to focus on him, and so Heather picks up the axe and finished the job.
  • Properly Paranoid: Ann, with her fear that she's the next one who will vanish as the witches are taking an interest in her.
  • When Trees Attack: Most of the attacks involve tree roots and branches.

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