Director Remington Smith’s “The Woods” is quite an accomplishment, mainly because it’s a film set in the middle of a snowy tundra implementing zero special effects. The centerpiece of “The Woods” is our character’s surroundings and how she has to adapt to the snowy wasteland of the woods. Apparently Smith and cinematographer Joshua Yates used mostly natural lighting for their film, resulting in a masterfully eerie and haunting short film set during a fight for survival. There’s so much conveyed in “The Woods” and yet there isn’t single word of dialogue spoken.
All that Smith needs is excellent editing and wonderful visual cues to explain what has already occurred, and it should go without saying that our protagonist has been through too much for anyone to endure. Smith does a bang up job of unfolding a story through stark and very obvious shots of carnage and the aftermath of what the main character has endured. When we meet her, she’s gazing down at an open grave of two bodies, and makes a point of settling down in her snow drenched dune to wait. When she finally meets her purpose, she sets out to ensure she ends the pain of someone she must have loved shortly before the apocalypse reared its horrific head, and her emotional stress is a powerful aspect in the climax.
Kristen DeGree is very good as the female protagonist who has to go through the stages of grief, while facing what will likely be a long and painful winter that will definitely take its toll on her. We’re never sure what lies beyond the woods and blankets of snow, but we know she’s in for a rough battle. None, of course, will be as grueling as what she went through before the film opened. Smith’s direction matched with Yates’ cinematography keeps “The Woods” an absolutely eerie, and soul crushing slice of survival drama, and one that keeps from falling in to the pits of the sub-genre it emulates. I hope we can see more from Smith in the future, as “The Woods” is a short film that deserves a massive audience.