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Film / Woodshock

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What did you do, Theresa? What did you do?

What did you do, Theresa? What did you do?

Woodshock is a 2017 psychological drama film written and directed by Kate and Laura Mulleavy, the sisters behind fashion label Rodarte, and starring Kirsten Dunst.

Theresa is a cannabis dispensary clerk in northern California who has been left reeling from the death of her mother (which she had a hand in) and uses marijuana to self-medicate. But when an innocent slip-up results in tragedy and Theresa finds herself unable to confess the truth of what happened, she experiments with the poison used to euthanize her mother, triggering a downward spiral that drags in everybody around her.

Woodshock was released on September 22, 2017, and distributed through independent film production company A24.

The trailer can be seen here.

Not to be confused with the music festival Woodstock.

This film provides examples of:

  • Death Seeker: Theresa is left depressed and despondent in the wake of her mother's death, but after accidentally killing Johnny she starts to engage in riskier and riskier behaviour.
  • Downer Ending: Ed dies of a heart attack, Theresa kills Keith and fatally poisons herself, and Nick is presumably left all alone.
  • Driven to Suicide:
  • Drop the Hammer: A variation. Theresa bludgeons Keith to death using a clothes iron, of all implements.
  • Drugs Are Bad: Zig-Zagged. It's implied Theresa's constant pot use leads her to accidentally give Johnny the laced weed, and her use of the poisonous cannabinoid pushes her to extremes she almost certainly wouldn't go to if sober, but it's also clear she's severely depressed and suicidal and uses drugs as self-medication.
  • Genre-Busting: A psychological drama with psychedelic elements that has drawn comparisons to horror.
  • Jumping Off the Slippery Slope: A possible interpretation of Theresa's actions in the latter half of the film after Keith discourages her from going to the police about Johnny's death.
  • Mercy Kill: Theresa's mother requests a poison-laced joint to ease her passing from cancer in the first scene of the film.
  • Mood Dissonance: Theresa's climactic suicide by poisoning is framed as a transcendent and even magical event, combined with the Soundtrack Dissonance of Peter Raeburn's triumphant "Murder to Death and Beyond."
  • Murder-Suicide: Theresa bludgeoning Keith to death before overdosing in the forest can be interpreted this way.
  • Mushroom Samba: A cannabinoid rather than mushrooms, but Theresa spends much of the movie in a drug-induced haze that alters her perceptions and influences her actions.
  • My Life Flashed Before My Eyes: The final scene of the movie is a montage of memories and imagery from Theresa's dying perspective.
  • Sanity Slippage: Theresa isn't in the best mental state at the outset, grappling with her mother's death and her own depression, but thanks to drugs and circumstance she goes off the deep end.
  • Scenery Porn: Theresa's nature walks among the massive redwoods of Humboldt County certainly qualify.
  • The Stoner: Played for drama with Theresa, who's so burned out she's in a constant haze and unable to connect with most people in her life, including her husband. Deconstructed when, while high, she accidentally gives Johnny weed laced with a lethal poison, killing him.
    • Keith is a dark example of an Erudite Stoner who acts chill and wise but does not hesitate to threaten Theresa when she suggests confessing the truth of Johnny's death to the cops.