THE BARRENS (2012) Reviews and overview

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‘The terrifying legend of the Jersey Devil is alive.’

The Barrens is a 2012 American horror film written, produced and directed by Darren Lynn Bousman (St. Agnes; Abattoir; The Barrens; 11-11-11; Saw II; III and IVMother’s Day).

The movie stars Stephen Moyer (True Blood), Mia Kirshner, Allie MacDonald, Shawn Ashmore.

The film was released under different titles in several European territories, such as Jersey Devil in German-speaking countries and as The Forest in France and Belgium. In the UK, it was released as Devil in the Woods.



It’s known as the Jersey Devil, the winged beast spawned 400 years ago by Satan himself. Some say this creature still inhabits the dense pine forests of southern New Jersey, where Richard Vineyard (Stephen Moyer) takes his family for a rustic weekend camping trip.

As the Vineyard family ventures further into the woods in search of the perfect campsite, Richard teeters on the edge of sanity. And it seems that the blood-crazed demon called The Jersey Devil may no longer be just a myth…


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Included on the Blu-ray and DVD releases is an audio commentary with director Darren Lynn Bousman and cinematographer Joseph White, and a deleted scene that serves as an alternative ending.


“On the surface it sounds kind of meh, but this actually was an engaging movie. Sure, it has a lot of the clichéd stuff that shows up in tons of movies (such as bad relationship between step-mother and step-daughter; psycho dad losing his shit). But the movie really does a great job of throwing in different pieces of information to set up a number of possibilities as to where the story will end up.” Rock! Shock! Pop!

“As a horror film Devil in the Woods does work well. It’s not exactly the most memorable of movies, you’ll remember that you’ve seen it before if you end up watching it again, but there is nothing really thought-provoking to keep you thinking about it for too long.” Nerdly

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” …Bousman good use of colour and lighting really add a dreamlike quality that works brilliantly. The score is menacing throughout, and really ups the creepiness, while the overall atmosphere is one of dread and menace, and is nicely realised by Bousman. Devil in the Woods wins in terms of the films design, look and feel, but sadly is let down by a really poor script delivered by some pretty unconvincing acting.” Horror Cult Films

“It’s not a perfect film, in fact after the first viewing I thought the ending was sorta a cheat, trying to be all things to everyone but with a repeat watch I was left with the opinion that this is a really decent pulse-pounder with some definite notes of The Shining as he loses his shit Jack Torrence style putting his son Danny in danger. ” McBastard’s Mausoleum


“It is a low budget film shot in a mere 18 days, and in all honesty, these constraints render it difficult to convey what was presumably intended. Despite this though, Devil deserves credit for the bravery of the route it takes, as does Moyer who puts in a quite sinister performance and conveys a total emotional breakdown with aplomb.” UK Horror Scene

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“I suppose it isn’t completely without redeeming qualities. The creature FX aren’t that bad, and if you like the frantic, overdone visual style of Bousman’s earlier (clearly higher-budgeted) movies, then there are brief moments of that to be found here. And I suppose some of the supporting players turn in some reasonable performances.” Brutal as Hell


” … the script never betrays its core conceit that sometimes the very worst monsters are those which our own sometimes fragile minds create from their own special darkness. There are some pacing issues and moments when the production could clearly have done with a few more dollars but, for a movie shot in just eighteen days, Devil in the Woods is an assured and curiously haunting effort…” Starburst

Choice dialogue:

“Seriously? I mean what the fck is this shit? This is fcked! Dead deer, dead dogs and all this Blair Witch crazy shit hanging from trees!”


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Cast and characters:

Stephen Moyer … Richard Vineyard
Mia Kirshner … Cynthia Vineyard
Allie MacDonald … Sadie Vineyard
Peter DaCunha … Danny Vineyard
David W. Keeley … Sheriff Winters
Erik Knudsen … Ryan
Shamier Anderson … Dave
Max Topplin … Zach
Michael Copeman … Wyatt Burns
Shawn Ashmore … Dale
Athena Karkanis … Erica
J. LaRose … Ranger Bob
Chantelle Chung … Laura
Naomi Snieckus … Monica
Matt Baram … Kyle
Marty Adams … Peter Luther
Demore Barnes … Deputy Ranger
François Dagenais … Jersey Devil
Jason Detheridge … Jersey Devil
Dennis Long … Cop
Tatiana Ivanova … Mother Leeds
John Fleming … Young Richard
Kathy Maloney … Field Reporter
Lina Giornofelice … Police Psychologist

Technical details:

1 hour 34 minutes
Audio: Dolby Digital
Aspect ratio: 1.85 : 1


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