rootwood

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A trio of friends find themselves in a very terrifying situation when they film a documentary in this horror film from the production company who brought you Ultimate Justice.

William and Jessica are two podcast hosts who have been hired by Hollywood producer Laura Benoit to produce a documentary. Benoit has always done cheesy horror films, but she wants to do something different. The idea is to bring the legend of the Wooden Devil to life. The creature has been known to kill a band of villagers who lived near the Rootwood Forest. William and a reluctant Jessica agree to take on the project, which is funded by German producer Dominik Braun.

William brings in a mutual friend, Erin, to join them on the project. When the trio arrives at Rootwood Forest, things seem quiet at first. Even their first few days of the excursion seems like nothing is happening. However, when they come upon an old tree with names of past victims smeared in blood, the trio begin to worry. In addition, when Erin finds a noose inside of a nearby tree, the fear begins to set in. Sounds of howling begin to emerge at night. To make matters worse, the trio begin to experience things they never imagined. Has the Wooden Devil found his next batch of victims?

After two action films, One Million K(l)icks and Ultimate Justice, producer Ruediger W. Kummerle delves into the horror genre with this film that may feel like a Blair Witch Project clone, but is actually quite engaging and at times very terrifying. Like the 1999 hit, the film revolves a trio who are filming footage of a legendary creature. However, this is not another “found footage” movie but rather one that brings the viewer into the fold with the trio of William, Jessica, and Erin as we are with them in the filming of their documentary about the Wooden Devil.

Tyler Gallant, Elissa Downing, and Sarah French all perform well as the trio. Especially Downing, a horror film veteran who goes from reluctant and skeptical to modern-day scream queen in the film’s third act. The relationship between William and Erin seems quite complicated but somehow plays well as a subplot to the actual story. A legendary horror film veteran, Sleepaway Camp’s Felissa Rose makes the most of her role as Laura, the producer who hires the trio for their film while Brandon Rhea, a martial artist and actor, briefly appears as the financier of the film, a German producer who seems to have a bad attitude.

The film’s scares don’t begin to occur until about halfway through the film and that could prose an issue for fans, but when they come, they bring a level of insanity and fear among the trio of “filmmakers”. However, while there are plot twists and turns, the final ten minutes are extremely disturbing and well worth its 82-minute running time.

Rootwood may start out in the vein of Blair Witch and tends to be slow at first, but the tension builds up and it all leads to a shocking finale that must be seen to be believed.

WFG RATING: B-

A Silent Partners production. Director: Marcus Walz. Producer: Ruediger W. Kummerle. Writer: Mario von Czapiewicz. Cinematography: Thomas Rist. Editing: Kai E. Bogatzki.

Cast: Tyler Gallant, Elissa Dowling, Sarah French, Felissa Rose, Tiffani Fest, Brandon Rhea, Kwame Head, Marv Blauvelt, Oasis Nguyen.