[Review] Backwoods (Bosque de sombras) (2006)

The Backwoods is a story about two couples (the men are English) who have gone to Spain on a holiday. One of the couples Paul (Gary Oldman) and wife Isabel (Aitana Sánchez-Gijón) have a remote cabin where they want to go to relax. The other couple Norman (Paddy Considine) and Lucy (Virginie Ledoyen) are having their own issues and have gone away to try and fix them.

Before they reach the cabin however they run into some local town folk, some appear to not take too kindly to the strangers. As Paul and Norman head out to go hunt rabbits one day, they come across another cabin, and they find something inside the town folk did not want found. Want comes next is a bit like Straw Dogs and I think that is all you need to know.

I was looking forward to checking this out, it had a good sounding premise and it stars Gary Oldman who is one of my all time favourite actors and Paddy Considine who had me sold with his performance in Dead Man’s Shoes. Unfortunately despite the film having those two, it fell flat for me. I found it to be rather boring in parts, and it really shouldn’t have been.

The two women I found to be extremely annoying and I really could not stand them. They were poorly written and both actresses did what they could but it was not good enough. Gary and Paddy however were both equally good in their roles, whilst they were not written with a lot of substance they are both such great actors they definitely elevated them.

This film did feel like it was trying to be a Spanish Straw Dogs and it did not really work so well, what they find in the cabin is shocking but also a little bit unrealistic. It felt like something from a horror film and it was out of place with this film. Bad decisions made by the characters got awfully annoying after awhile and I really could not get on their side at all. The town folk were all clichéd and there was nothing new brought to the table.

As the film builds up to its third act I felt the tension was there and it did work. Some parts dragged, whilst other parts went down smoothly and really well. It is an uneven film, and it should have been so much better.

I did find this to be disappointing, but it was not altogether a big mess either. This was an average drama/thriller made better by the performances by the leading men. It is certainly worth seeing for Gary Oldman or Paddy Considine fans, they are worth checking out. I can see why people did not like this one very much, but I can also understand why others really liked it. For me it was average, not bad but not great. A decent effort, but there was a lot of room for improvement.


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