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Thursday, January 28, 2021

Review: Crone Wood

Director: Mark Sheridan

Screenplay: Mark Sheridan

Year: 2021

A couple that just met decides to go camping in a forest. After hearing some strange noises and feeling that there is something out of place around them, they investigate the area. What they find makes them regret their decision to go into the forest. “Crone Wood” is a low-budget found footage movie, where director Mark Sheridan clearly draws inspiration from two great classic horror movies: “The Blair Witch Project” and “The Wicker Man”.

During the first act of the movie, we get to know Hailey (Elva Trill; “Line of Duty”) and Danny (Ed Murphy; “Vikings”), who just met each other and decide to go camping together. The great acting performance from both actors and the excellent direction from Sheridan quickly stand out. The great chemistry between the two soon jumps out, and we care about their outcome, which proves to be crucial during the misfortunate events the couple goes through. 

In the second act, the movie delves deeper into the mystery surrounding them, where it finds inspiration in “The Blair Witch Project”. For the whole film, we are watching what happens through a handheld camera, and for the most part, we cannot see what is around them, a strategy that became popular in the classic in which it is inspired. The shots in total darkness using the camera’s night vision create an uncomfortable atmosphere reminiscent of the classic. 

The third act takes an abrupt turn and goes deep into the folk horror genre, where it finds inspiration in “The Wicker Man”. I won’t go into details about what happens in this part of the movie to avoid spoilers, but between masks and the presence of a pagan cult, there are plenty of references to robin Hardy’s classic. In this stretch is when “Crone Wood” showcases its full potential, but collaterally it brings to attention its limitations.

In this part, a new set of characters joins the plot, whose acting is terrible and far from what’s achieved with the protagonist couple. The script also suffers from some inconsistencies and decisions that don’t make much sense. The ending doesn’t offer a good reward, and neither is it at the same level as the third’s act revelation.

For those who enjoy low-budget independent horror films, “Crone Wood” offers an interesting story inspired by two horror cinema classics. The director and the protagonist couple do a great job for most of the movie, but the budget limitations and not well-polished script take their toll on the overall product.

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