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Hidden in the Woods ("En las Afueras de la Ciudad")

World Premiere
  • Chile
  • 2012
  • 95 mins
  • HD
  • Spanish
  • English (subtitles)
Hosted by Director Patricio Valladares and Producer Evelyn Belmar

Ana and Anny don’t get out much, having been forcibly kept away from society for most of their lives by their abusive, drug-dealing scumbag of a father. Sharing this unhappy home is their physically deformed, mentally challenged brother who spends much of his days twitching in the shadows. One day, the siblings desperately snap, turn their father in to the law and flee for their lives deep into the mountains. How will they survive on their own in a world they’ve barely experienced or understand? That’s the least of their problems. Unfortunately for them, their dad was holding a considerable amount of drugs. Drugs that have now gone missing. This is of no small concern to Uncle Costello, the area’s resident homicidal pusher kingpin. Costello believes the girls would know where his dope is, and he and his militia of killers will tear through as many bodies as it takes to track them down. The girls know nothing, nor do they have the slightest interest in anything related to their father’s business. No matter. All they can do is continue to run, while an ever-broadening river of blood forms in their tracks behind them.

Prepare to get your face blown off. Like the bastard child of a Ruggero Deodato/Sam Peckinpah/Gaspar Noé pile-up gestated in the loins of Roberta Findlay, HIDDEN IN THE WOODS is a blisteringly confrontational piece of work that will have even the bravest of audiences watching from between their fingers if not full-out running for cover. For much of its running time, almost every other line of dialogue is either shrieked or interrupted by shrieks — when not pre-empted by gunfire or glass smashing — until the experience becomes a dizzying whirlwind of ferocity. While the film is so relentlessly unpleasant and extreme that it takes on surrealistic dimensions, at its core it’s a bloody-fisted commentary about people born into abuse so thoroughly that their fates seem marked for it, as if every decision they make could only lead them to worse circumstances. Directed with visceral force by underground filmmaker Patricio Valladares, funded in part by the Chilean government (!) and populated with some of the most despicable characters imaginable, this brutalizingly perverse deconstruction of family is take-no-prisoners, cutthroat cinema at its most uncompromising. You’ve been warned.

— Mitch Davis