Murder in the Woods by indie film production company REZINATE Pictures is a slasher that takes a handful of teens, a copious amount of alcohol, and delivers them to … well, in a cabin in the woods with no cell phone reception. (Where else?)
Directed and produced by Mexican filmmaker Luis Iga Garza and written and produced by Yelyna De León, Murder in the Woods defies horror conventions by making a film where cast and crew are all Latinx! As a Latina, it was incredibly refreshing to see an entire cast with some flavor versus just a token minority or two in a wonder bread ensemble piece.
José Julián, Jeanette Samano, Chelsea Rendon, Catherine Toribio, Jordan Diambrini and Kade Wise play the standard horror caricatures in Murder in the Woods. Really, it’s like a checklist: there’s the leader, the girlfriend, the sexy girl, the horny guy, the bookworm girl, the shy guy …
The magic with the cast kicks in when things start to go haywire as night falls and they’re stalked by a murderer who has a personal vendetta with one of teens. Seeing them fold through stages of grief and disbelief was great, and some of the characters really grew on me. I did eventually manage to guess who the killer was, but couldn’t determine their motivation. I was very satisfied with how the pieces fell together, though, and the final scene made me angry — in a good way (no spoilers, promise!).
A nice surprise was that it also featured Danny Trejo in a small role, if you can’t get enough of seeing him on the screen!
All in all, Murder in the Woods is a cheesy indie horror flick, so while it won’t stand up to fare from studios with a ton of money, it was clearly created by a team that had a love for the genre. I had a decent time, and it would be fun to catch again with a few drinks and a few friends who remind me of some of the characters.
Murder in the Woods hits digital/VOD nationwide on Sept. 18.