The year is 1965. Trouble student Heather Fasulo (Agnes Brockner) finds herself condemned to an all-girl boarding school. She is accepted, in spite of her record of being a less than model student, with a drive for setting fires and getting into confrontations. It is instantly apparent to her that there is something terribly wrong about this place. Students are cautious - very cautious - when it comes to manners and, seemingly, everything else. The stern administrative staff have managed to instill the cold fear of god in everyone. The fear of some god, that is. The ancient school is surrounded by woods, and the woods are a place where no student dares venture, for reasons related both to ghoulish legend and primal survival instinct. Nobody quite understands what the woods are, but all are certain that they have with no wish to discover answers firsthand. Several disappearances and one mysterious suicide attempt later, horrible secrets begin to spill. Heather learns that the repressive tribulations of boarding school life can no longer casually be referred to as "hell."
Long anticipated, after numerous shifting release dates when its originating studio changed ownership, The Woods marks American independent filmmaker Lucky McKee's entry into the big league. It's an impressive Cinemascope production whose girl-school witchcraft narrative, reminiscent in places of Argento's Suspiria, hits unique notes uncommon to most modern studio releases. McKee attained instant alterna-film infamy with his Grand Guignol teen-angst Frankenstein comedy May, and he expands on his penchant for telling stories driven by alienated female-youth protagonists here. As with Angela Bettis' character in his previous film, he directs Bruckner through a performance that shivers with truth and compassion, surrounding her with an effective cast that includes Evil Dead icon Bruce Campbell and the always-fascinating Patricia Clarkson (Wendigo, Dogville), delivering one of her most memorable performances to date. McKee shot The Woods right here in Montreal, assembling a stellar team with many figures from the city's industry, both in front of and behind his camera's lens. Tuned-in viewers will recognize faces from the films of Jim Donovan, Federico Hidalgo and Maurice Devereaux, among others. Special make-up effects were designed by Adrien Morot and George Tucci, award-winning local filmmaker David Uloth operated the camera crane, and the list goes on. Produced by Bryan and Shawn Furst (The Cooler), a pair of brothers whose next project also involves an atypical sibling set ? namely the Spierig Brothers' (Undead) second feature Daybreakers. There's a great deal of fire in these woods. Its flames show no indication of going out anytime soon.
Hosted by director Lucky McKee
Director: Lucky McKee
Screenplay: David Ross
Cast: Patricia Clarkson, Agnes Bruckner, Bruce Campbell, Lauren Birkell
Producers: Bryan Furst, Shawn Furst
Distributor: Sony Screen Gems