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  • Eric J. Cullen

REVIEW: 'Murder in the Woods' Brings Fun Back To Slasher Flicks

Updated: Sep 21, 2021

I had the chance to watch Murder in the Woods last week and I could not have been more excited to do so. Right off the bat the title of the film bleeds horror. Fans of the genre, if you like to keep a kill count, a title like Murder in the Woods is an indicator that you are in for at least one death in the time span of an hour and a half. If it is not the title of this film that speaks to you, much like it did to me, maybe the mention of Danny Trejo, a really cool dude in my book, will grab your full attention.

Directed by Luis Iga and written by Yelyna De León, Murder in the Woods is the story of a group of teens that take off to a cabin… you guessed it, in the woods. There they will celebrate the birthday of one of their friends, Chelsea, while doing everything else that teens get up to when no adults are around. After a couple of hitches on the road, the teens arrive at the cabin where fun times begin to kick off as planned with music, tequila and weed. All is going well until a mysterious figure decides to crash the party, throwing the teens into fright and survival mode.

No horror film is complete without blood or scares and Murder in the Woods has plenty of both. The deaths seem original and at times, very well thought out while Danny Trejo’s character of Sheriff Lorenzo is well utilized for a couple jump scares. The blood and suspense start off early in the film, accompanied by music that brings the chills from beginning to end. The deaths and music play a big part in driving the scares for this film but it is truly the cast that helps to establish Murder in the Woods as a horror flick.

Murder in the Woods has a great, diverse cast of actors and actresses going for it. José Julián does very well in the role of shy Jesse, bringing to light a tormented past sometimes with just a stare. Julián’s co-stars Kade Wise as Jule and Jordan Diambrini as Gabe, bring individuality to their characters that makes the viewer like them instantly. Jeanette Samano and Catherine Toribio shine in their roles of Fernanda and Celeste. Both girls are complete opposites of each other and it really shows in the performances given from both actresses. Chelsea Rendon, I have to admit she sets herself apart from the rest, bringing her character Chelsea an emotional depth that only adds to the scares in some scenes.

Murder in the Woods is your typical, cliché filled horror film but that is not a reason at all to write it off, or think any less of it. The group of teens in the middle of the woods has been done before. The foreboding warnings given to our group of teens and still all caution is thrown to the wind, we know what is going to happen but it wouldn’t be a horror movie if it didn’t. That is why when I say, Murder in the Woods has clichés, I mean it with the best intentions because they help to tell a unique, if not at times, familiar slasher story, without giving way to cheap scares.

In all, I very much enjoyed Murder in the Woods. The story is a familiar horror tale, unique enough in its own way and aided by fantastic performances from its diverse cast.