Nobody Sleeps in the Woods Tonight

This Polish slasher currently streaming on Netflix is an odd mix. It’s bloody and disgusting. It has really strong character moments that are totally undermined by the horror elements. It has a lot of tangents and plot cul-de-sacs that don’t add much. It’s also a memorable movie that isn’t too bad if a bloody, violent, and weirdly paced movie is your thing.

I like the way the movie sets the stage. A bunch of teens are sent to a summer camp that is all about eliminating phones, and screens and getting back to nature. These are kids who have all gotten into trouble for excessive screen time and were sent here to detox. Our cast has a strong reason to bond and an excuse for the age old slasher issue of cell phone use. Basically cell phones solve most of the problems in slasher movies. Anyway, we are introduced to our collection of teens. There’s Julek, a gamer who is ranked the number two player in the country, but his school work is failing. He has self esteem issues and doesn’t know how to connect with those around him. There’s Aniela, a popular pretty girl addicted to her social media feed, but there’s so much more to her that she doesn’t feel comfortable sharing on social media or in her life for fear of rejection. There’s Daniel, a real popular player. He’s an athlete. He’s too cool for the world around him, but this bravado belies an insecurity in himself. There’s Bartek, a man who is a bully who taunts and harasses those around him, but is really mirroring the behaviors his fathers has modeled for him. He’s also gay and has a very sad speech about the trials of hiding his sexuality in the repressive Poland.

These are our characters. Did you find them interesting? Did you like any of them? Too bad. They’re all going to die. And not only are they going to die, they are going to die in horrible and pointless ways without having a chance to defend themselves or fight for their lives. One gets his tongue ripped out. Another gets impaled on a rusty pipe off camera. We don’t even get to see their death. It’s all just gore and shock value.

The only character who gets a chance to be an active participant in the story instead of just a bloody victim is Zosia, played by Julia Wieniawa. She has a tragic backstory that is implied and hinted at. She is someone who is actively trying to shape the outcome of the narrative. She is smart and tries to improve their situation and fight back.

What are they fighting against? Well two twin monsters. We are given an apocryphal backstory for these creatures from an old man in the woods. He tells us that two twin brothers found a meteor and put it under their bed. The meteor broke open and expelled an ooze that transformed the boys into lumpy boil covered brainless monsters with a hunger that couldn’t be satisfied. The boys mother kept them locked in her cellar ending them whole pigs for twenty years until they finally broke out. This is interesting, because it doesn’t make any sense for the old man in the woods to know this. The boys kept the meteor hidden from everyone, and couldn’t speak after their transformation, so how did anyone find out about this? It doesn’t make sense.

Anyway, if you’re interested in brutal and bloody killings, this movie has you covered. There are people in wood chippers. There are implements going through people’s heads and bodies. There is copious amounts of blood and viscera. If you like that, this movie has it in spades. I would just warn you not to get emotionally involved in any of the characters. They are canon fodder. Also, don’t think too hard about any of it, because it will not make sense. It is currently streaming on Netflix if you are intrigued.

It’s not really my cup of tea. B-

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