Part horror, part thriller, and part family drama, HIDDEN IN THE WOODS is one of those multi-genre hybrids that breaks molds and knocks down cultural barriers. But to do so, it assails its viewers with a large does of brutality and gore. This is certainly not a bad thing for a movie of this caliber, but what makes this more shocking than most horror flicks is that this is based on a bizarre but true story. This film is relentless in its intensity and violence, but if you can make it through, you’re in for a real treat.
If you are not familiar with HIDDEN IN THE WOODS, here is the plot synopsis courtesy of Artsploitation Films:
One of the most controversial horror films ever to emerge from Latin America, Hidden in the Woods is 21st century grindhouse horror cinema at its most shocking. Deep in the Chilean countryside, Ana and Anny live with their deformed brother and are subject to their father’s perverse and sadistic whims. After a dispute with the police leaves a wake of death and mutilation, they flee and find refuge in a remote cabin hidden from society. Meanwhile, a crime lord, convinced they have stolen the massive stash of drugs their father was hiding, sends a violent pack of thugs to find them. Based on a bizarre true story and not for the faint of heart, Hidden in the Woods (currently being remade in the U.S.) features extreme violence, prostitution, sexual assault, buckets of blood and even cannibalism.
Just reading the plot synopsis above does not give you any kind of sense of how simply ruthless the events depicted in this film really are. What these kids go through is a crime against humanity, and director Patricio Valladares does an amazing job of bringing it to the screen. I can’t believe some of the negative reviews I read about this movie; those reviewers must have certainly seen a different film.
HIDDEN IN THE WOODS is shot well and looks very good onscreen. But two primary components made this movie for me: the acting and the special effects (specifically, the gore).
The cast in this film is amazing. Siboney Lo and Carolina Escobar are the two lead actresses and they do a spectacular job of conveying the agonies their characters went through in real life. The audience relates to them very early on, and therefore feels a part of every tragedy inflicted upon them.
Likewise, the gore in HIDDEN IN THE WOODS looks exceptional. And there’s plenty of it, too. When the father goes after the two police officers with a chainsaw, I saw flashbacks to THE TEXAS CHAINSAW MASSACRE. And the climactic ending is reminiscent of a Quentin Tarantino film, with a crazy kitchen shootout that would make the man himself proud.
HIDDEN IN THE WOODS is a difficult film to watch in certain places because of its graphic and sensitive subject matter. But it is a hell of a film and one I highly recommend if you can stomach through it. Just be warned: this one will not be for everyone. The film is available now in a variety of formats.