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Horror Has Little Life in the Glum 'Blackwoods'

Movie Review

May 10, 2002|KEVIN THOMAS | TIMES STAFF WRITER

"Blackwoods," a glum psychological horror picture, opens today for what will surely be a quick stopover on the way to video store bins. Director Uwe Boll and writer Robert Dean Klein fail to generate any interest in an unsympathetic hero caught up in an intricate plot that while cleverly worked out, cannot overcome blah characters.

Matt Sullivan's (Patrick Muldoon) girlfriend of three weeks, Dawn (Keegan Connor Tracy), wants to introduce him to her family. They live deep in a forest some distance from the city, and the couple plan a weekend visit. This premise does not augur well for Matt, yet the filmmakers still lay in strobe-like flashes of ominousness. Upon arrival at Dawn's large old family home we sense that Matt is already in big trouble. Or do Matt's troubles go back further than when he purportedly met Dawn?

"Blackwoods" is a probe of deep-seated guilt and the elaborate, distorted ways it can play out. Unfortunately, the way the filmmakers explore their theme is mechanical and flashy in technique rather than involving. Michael Pare is the local sheriff and Clint Howard the clerk at the local motel. Always a welcome presence in any film, Howard, as a simple-minded hick, gives "Blackwoods" whatever humor and life it has.

*

MPAA rating: R, for violence, language and sexuality. Times guidelines. Extremely brutal.

'Blackwoods'

Patrick Muldoon...Matt

Keegan Connor Tracy...Dawn

Michael Pare...Sheriff Harding

Clint Howard...Greg

A Velocity Entertainment presentation. Director Uwe Boll. Producer Shawn Williamson. Executive producers Phillip Selkirk, Uwe Boll, James Shavick. Screenplay Robert Dean Klein. Cinematographer Mathias Neumann. Costumes M. Livingstone. Art director J. Sutherland. Set decorator J. Leblanc. Running time: 1 hour, 34 minutes.

At selected theaters

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