Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Hidden in the Woods: Who Dumped the Rape Box Out?

Hidden in the Woods has lots of material that most likely will seem completely offensive to quite a few people. That being said, don't watch it if you can't handle it. Despite the graphic content I felt that it was done so tastefully and with such artistic mastery, that I would watch it again. When a movie is this brutal but could inspire repeat viewings, that's when you know you have a keeper; a special film that has something to say. It didn't disturb me to the point of skipping scenes or fast forwarding even though the action on screen was deplorable. I can't help but feel that I might be in the minority in that regard. It's vicious. Nonstop, fuckall, gangbusters debauch. It's also refreshing, and I say that not to be clever or cheeky. It's simply true. With so many movies attempting to imitate the grindy side of films from the late 70's and early 80's, it's nice to finally see one accomplish it, perhaps without trying to imitate the style. Now I'm as big a fan as any of that neo-Grindhouse movies as of late, but they're campy, funny, fun and produced with great big budgets that extend like skyscrappers past the 42nd Street cinemas well below their paygrade. Hiddin the Woods captures the brutal awesome shit and stink of the underbelly of the underbelly. It comes by it honestly and with proper, respectful impact. This isn't exploitation cinema. This is visceral murder and muck.

Synopsis from Artsploitation Films:

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.


Artsploitation Films hasn't been around terribly long but they have a nice back catalog that's been getting some attention though none more than Hidden in the Woods (except maybe Wither and the upcoming Toad Road). They're fearless cinema hunters that find some bat shit crazy material to put on disc. They range from the erotic to the dramatic and then... to movies like Hidden in the Woods. 

Hidden in the Woods is like a giant bucket of sloppy wet rape and slimy blood. Inbetween a well crafted drama featuring some rather unique interpersonal dynamics, scenes are filled with vivid images of prostitution and violence, sexual assault and murder. It's visually powerful with shots well placed for maximum impact. I'm not going to say that it's a gory picture because the guts aren't quite on the back of your LCD screen, but it's a "painter". Lots of the red stuff. It takes hints from movies like I Spit on Your Grave or even more modern day rape revenge flicks and then turns them over and rapes them. It doesn't necessarily follow the typical revenge format which is probably why it's so refreshing. That also means it's going to loose audience members and critiques. 

To call Hidden in the Woods a horror movie isn't entirely accurate. Sure the acts on screen are terrifying, but this isn't a monster movie. It isn't even a the Chilean equivalent of a hillbilly horror film. It's just stark raving reality up in your face, based on true events (for whatever dread that affords you) and alive. There are screams in this movie that act like tinnitus in your ears when you turn off the movie. The murky, ocean sludge of black and red blood will stain your remote.

I recommend this movie, but you have to know your boundaries. If you can't take brutal rape, this isn't your movie. If you are looking for a fun revenge flick, this isn't it. If you want a deep seeded emotional experience involving a multiple layers of realistic drama, power struggles and cannibalistic tendencies you have a movie that will appease your sick mind. I say that commiserating as a friend of course. This is a well acted piece of cinema and not a drive-in classic to compliment a first run movie during a double feature. You probalby won't want to watch anything but Disney after this one.


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