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film review

When it was revealed in July that Adam Wingard's new horror film, The Woods, was actually a Blair Witch sequel in disguise, it was tempting to give the film a perfect grade, sight unseen. After all, how many projects can be developed in near-total secrecy these days without casting or plot details leaking out at every turn? The fact that Hollywood had delivered a genuine shock was a gift in itself. Fortunately, Wingard's actual film is also scarily impressive – a thrill ride that's as terrifying as it is no-nonsense. Eschewing the original sequel's ill-conceived meta-twist (sorry, Book of Shadows), Wingard goes back to basics here, using the found-footage conceit to track the misadventures of Peter (Brandon Scott), who goes back in the forest to find his sister Heather, of the original doomed trio. Wingard and his screenwriting partner, Simon Barrett, steer clear of their previous affinity for retro meta-horror tactics (You're Next, The Guest) to deliver a stripped-down creep show that expertly plumbs the depths of hell (a.k.a. the Maryland woods).