Follow TV Tropes


Web Animation / There's a Man in the Woods

Go To
"There's a Man in the Woods" is a web animation made in 2014.

The story is narrated by a former school teacher, who tells the audience the story of how he got fired. Every day, the children of the school would go out to the bushes at the edge of the woods near the school and eat the honeysuckle. One child named Sid, however, doesn't want to share the flowers, so he claims that he saw a man in the woods. The teacher knows that Sid is lying, but as he doesn't do anything except try to stop the rumor, the story grows before getting back to the parents. Things get darker from there...

The video can be found here:

There's A Man In The Woods contains examples of:

  • Addled Addict: The teacher becomes addicted to alcohol and cocaine after being fired from his job.
  • Adults Are Useless: The teacher tried to reassure the kids that everything was safe, but the other adults aren't willing to take any action besides blaming him. Also deconstructed, as it shows the more realistic consequences of high position adults refusing to take legitimate action.
  • An Aesop: If you believe everything kids tell you about how somebody is bad, it can lead to good, responsible people losing their jobs over an empty lie. In the short, that exact thing happens, leading a kind and responsible teacher to become an unemployed junkie stewing in bitter frustration.
  • Asshole Victim: It's never made clear what happens to Sid, but it's hard to feel sorry for him.
  • Became Their Own Antithesis: The Teacher tried to convince the students, parents, and staff that there was no "man in the woods," but gets blamed and fired for it. After becoming an addict and reaching rock bottom, he drives to his school through the woods and becomes "the man in the woods."
  • Be Careful What You Wish For: Sid started the lie (which ruined the Teacher's life) all so he could have the honeysuckle to himself. He gets it, but the Teacher is most likely going to kill him.
  • Beware the Nice Ones: The teacher was a Cool Old Guy who, in the end, is possibly going to kill Sid.
  • Big Bad Slippage: The teacher, thanks to Sid's lie.
  • Bitch in Sheep's Clothing: Sid pretends to act all sweet and innocent when he said, "There's a man in the woods." But the audience and the Teacher knows he's just lying to get the honeysuckle to himself.
  • Book Ends:
    • The title is said at the start and end, but the latter is more terrifying.
    • Someone is sucking a honeysuckle flower.
  • Bratty Half-Pint: Even the Teacher narrates Sid as an "obnoxious kid." And is he ever. He tells his classmates terrifying stories of a dangerous man in the forest so that he won't have to share the honeysuckle nectar. Though probably he didn't expect the Teacher to get fired, it doesn't seem to bother him as long as he gets what he wants.
  • Broken Ace: The Teacher was a friendly, Cool Old Guy who genuinely loved his job and was competent at it. Too bad Sid's lies ruin his reputation.
  • Cassandra Truth: Try as he might, the teacher can't convince the children that Sid is lying. And things only get worse when his fellow adults won't believe him either...
  • Cool Old Guy: The teacher appears to be in late forties or early fifties and was quite the friendly, Cool Teacher. Then, the lie...
  • Cool Teacher: If letting the children pick honeysuckles was any indication, the teacher used to be one of these before Sid's lies turned him into the bitter cynic he's become.
  • "Could Have Avoided This!" Plot: If the Teacher, the PTA, or Sid's mother had simply called Sid's bluff and told the police of his claim, Sid would've been exposed as a liar, the Teacher either would've been vindicated or never would've gotten in trouble to begin with, and the Teacher wouldn't have murdered Sid.
  • Don't Go in the Woods: Invoked by Sid, who makes up a lie about there being a murderer in the woods next to the school so he can have the honeysuckle bush at the edge of the woods all to himself. His lie snowballs into a moral panic that ends up getting the teacher fired for not doing enough to protect the kids from the nonexistent killer (as if that's his job and not the job of the police), all while the teacher's claims that Sid is lying fall on deaf ears. The unjustly slandered teacher turns from a nice guy into a bitter addict, and eventually decides that if everybody else is going to play along with Sid's lie, then so will he... by making it true.
  • Downer Ending: It seems likely the Teacher will get his revenge on Sid and kill him. While this will satisfy the Teacher (and the viewers), in the long run, it won't make things better. Killing someone like Sid is still killing. What would the teacher's other students think, their beloved mentor, turned criminal? What's more, killing won't fix the damage Sid's lie has already done. It won't get back the Teacher's job, it won't restore the school's credibility, and it certainly won't make the other students' fears go away. It won't make things go back to the way they were. What's more, assuming anyone will care, Sid's death would only serve to make him a martyr. Not to mention, it's suggested that Sid is the way he is because his mother is inattentive. Brat that he is, he's still a child, and he'll never have a chance to grow out of that behavior. The only consolation is the irony that Sid will die among the honeysuckles he so lied for.
  • Dramatic Irony: Sid's lie works and keeps the kids far away from the woods and the honeysuckle which leaves him all alone when the teacher comes to exact his revenge.
  • Drowning My Sorrows: The teacher starts abusing alcohol (with cocaine) after he gets fired and reputation ruined.
  • Establishing Character Moment: In his introductory scene we see Sid angrily steal honeysuckle from a little girl while glaring at her and another boy. He then shoves it into his lunchbox, which is already filled to the brim with his own honeysuckle.
  • Fairy Tale Motifs: There's a notable parallel to "The Boy who cried Wolf". The shepherd boy (Sid) claims there's a wolf (the Man in the Woods) in order to entertain themselves (or in Sid's case, get more Honeysuckles) and pays the price for it (potentially with his life) when a real wolf (the teacher) rears its head.
  • Fired Teacher: Sid's lie about the man in the woods gets the teacher fired after he doesn't do enough to investigate. Even worse, due to the story, he ends up getting ostricized from other schools and can't get another job.
  • Five-Second Foreshadowing: Right up until the Wham Line and Wham Shot, there are two hints that the Teacher has decided to become "the Man in the woods" — 1). Three imagined versions of fictional persons have been haunting the Teacher and 2). Before he shows up to presumably kill Sid, he's in the imagined lava that all the kids (sans Sid) stood away from because of "the man in the woods."
  • Flower Motifs: The honeysuckle flowers play a big part in the story but it's an ironic one because honeysuckles are associated with "happiness" and are thought to ward off evil. Honeysuckles sure made Sid happy but, because of his lies, no one's happy and he ends up creating evil in the form of the vengeful teacher.
  • Foreshadowing:
    • At one point the fictional killer is described as having "crazy yellow eyes," with an accompanying shot of them. After it shows the teacher has taken to snorting cocaine, there's a closeup to his eyes.
    • Attentive viewers will also notice that a few scenes show empty beer bottles in the front seat of the narrator's car. This foreshadows his descent into alcoholism and drugs in the wake of being fired from his job.
  • Friend to All Children: The teacher, until Sid's lie got him fired.
  • From Bad to Worse: From a lie, to a teacher being fired, to said teacher possibly committing murder.
  • From Nobody to Nightmare: Possibly. The teacher started off as a harmless, but competent and Nice Guy Cool Teacher, but transforms into a cynical, Addled Addict Broken Ace who is possibly going to kill a child (Sid).
  • Greed: Sid's motivation.
  • Hate Sink: Sid, his mother and the school faculty are all clearly intended to be hated, and this helps the teacher look more sympathetic.
  • Hard Truth Aesop:
    • Children do have a capacity for telling you lies.
    • Telling lies can have serious consequences, possibly even deadly ones.
  • Hoist by His Own Petard: Sid starts the rumor of there being a man in the woods to get all the honeysuckles for himself, unintentionally getting his teacher fired and destroying his life. The ending implied the teacher wants revenge and becomes the man in the woods Sid lied about.
  • Hypocrite: Sid's mother is furious that the Teacher seemed neglectful of his duties but it's implied she is no better herself, but as a parent.
  • Irony: Sid excused himself to go near the honeysuckles despite claims of the "man in the woods" by lying that he was the only one qualified to somehow keep the titular entity at bay. This not only leaves him vulnerable to the vengeful teacher (whose transformation into the "man in the woods" is unto itself ironic), but his cowering before the teacher strongly implies he didn't even have the mettle to face the real man in the woods.
  • It's All About Me: Sid's motivation for the lie and possibly the school's motivation for firing the teacher.
  • Laser-Guided Karma: Sid created a monster to scare the children away so he could have the Honeysuckles all to himself. In the end, Sid's monster comes to life in the form of the vengeful teacher, who kills Sid while he's at the honeysuckle bush, all alone with no witnesses around, because his lie made everybody else too scared to go near the area.
  • Lazy Bum: Rather than actually investigate the alleged criminal sighting from Sid, the heads of the school evidently thought a better idea would be to just fire the teacher after accusations of negligence came flooding in.
  • Malicious Slander: Thanks to the slander of Sid's mother, the teacher couldn't find a job because no school wants a teacher who didn't take action of a threat.
  • Never My Fault: Two examples:
    • The school faculty refuses to actually investigate Sid's claims of criminal activity and instead shirk responsibility onto the teacher, who had been nothing but attentive to the children and thus knows that Sid's lying. They then decide to lay all the blame on him and have him fired.
    • Sid's mother meanwhile, never once thinks of investigating his claim either, and takes it further by deciding the school should hold all the responsibility whilst simultaneously not lifting a finger to do anything about it herself. She also never once considers the possibility that her son may have been lying (which he was), and is in fact gravely offended at the mere suggestion that her perfect little angel is even capable of such a thing.
  • Nice Guy: Played straight and then subverted. The teacher was an attentive, soft-spoken man who cared about all his students, even Sid. The fallout from Sid's lies turned him into a bitter, cynical Addled Addict who now plans on murdering Sid for ruining his reputation.
  • No Name Given: Sid is the only named character.
  • Nothing Is Scarier: The ending.
  • Oh, Crap!: Sid's reaction when he sees his former teacher behind the honeysuckle bush pulling out a gun on him.
  • Parental Neglect: Sid's mother shows more interest in her computer than her child.
  • Pushover Parents: Sid's mother is implied to be too busy to really pay attention to him, and when a problem that she can't ignore presents itself, she expects his teacher to take care of it... but refuses to accept that her son might be the issue.
  • Rhymes on a Dime: The entire story is done in rhyming couplets. To a terrifying effect.
  • Rule of Symbolism: The ending shot shows the teacher on the dark side of the forest, while Sid is on the sunny side (where the school is).
  • Rule of Three: The title is said three times in the story.
  • Self-Fulfilling Prophecy: The whole dang story.
  • Significant Wardrobe Shift: The teacher attire shows him going from a Cool Teacher to Broken Ace.
  • Snowball Lie: It starts with Sid, who spreads it to the schoolkids, who later spread it to the parents, who drag the school itself into it and get the teacher fired.
  • Start of Darkness: The whole story is implied to be this for the teacher.
  • Strong Family Resemblance: Sid and his mother are physically identical.
  • Then Let Me Be Evil: The teacher becomes the man in the woods.
  • Think of the Children!: Invoked on a poster in another school that rejects the Teacher's job application after he gets fired. Is also ostensibly the reason he's fired in the first place, even though neither his bosses nor his parents bother to actually investigate Sid's claims.
  • Title Drop: The teacher says the title twice and Sid (in a flashback) said it once.
  • Trademark Favorite Food: The kids are shown to love honeysuckles. This is especially true for Sid, who goes as far as taking some from his classmates and making up a rumor about a Serial Killer roaming the woods to have them all for himself.
  • Tranquil Fury: The Teacher drops into this for the last four stanzas after several stanzas of hysterical ranting, right as he's about to kill Sid.
  • Unwitting Instigator of Doom: It's doubtful that Sid intended for the teacher to get fired over his lie, but he's shown to not care later on in the short. At least, not until he meets his vengeful teacher again...
  • Used to Be a Sweet Kid: An older example. The Teacher was once a friendly and caring man who genuinely loved his job. But Sid's lies ruined his reputation, got him fired, and even led to the Teacher becoming a cocaine and alcohol abuser. Now, he might have become so broken and cynical to the point he's willing to kill a child.
  • Vocal Dissonance: The one criticism most viewers have with the story is that the teacher's voice sounds a little too young for him.
  • Wham Line: The four last stanzas:
    ...But I can play along. I can be good! Do you hear that, Sid? There's a man in the woods.
  • Woobie, Destroyer of Worlds: Seeing as one little brat lying for his own benefit managed to completely ruin the teacher's life, can you really blame him for going off the deep end like that?
  • Would Hurt a Child: The ending heavily implies that the narrator murdered Sid in cold blood in revenge for getting him fired and destroying his reputation.