WILDERNESS (2006) Reviews and overview

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‘Don’t go down to the woods today’

Wilderness is a 2006 British-Irish horror film directed by Michael J. Bassett (Ash vs Evil DeadSilent Hill: Revelation 3DDeathwatch) from a screenplay written by Dario Poloni (Black Death). Sean Pertwee, Alex Reid, Toby Kebbell and Stephen Wight star.


Following the suicide of a young offender, the other teenage prisoners are sent on a character-building adventure trip to a remote supposedly uninhabited island. There, they encounter two female young offenders and their ex-army warden. Both groups are soon picked off one by one by a mysterious man lurking in the woods…


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“Empty landscapes and vistas help reassert how detached Callum and the others are from society. Bassett’s film plays on its characters’ impulses and creates an unceasing thriller that is one part slasher and one part Lord of the FliesWilderness admittedly has nothing on the most transgressive genre films in existence, but it also does not lack in depravity for entertainment.” Bloody Disgusting

“The graphic and expertly executed gore effects are the standout aspect of the film, elevating this fairly derivative, if well told, story into a gorehound’s all you can puke buffet. We’re treated to dismemberment, beheadings, torture, and a particularly “sucks to be you” moment involving not one, but two, bear traps.” Dread Central


“Taut and visceral, Wilderness is a marked improvement on director Michael J Bassett’s muddled debut feature, Deathwatch, thanks, one suspects, to Dario Poloni’s bleak, misanthropic script. But this is also the film’s Achilles heel: some may find it hard to care about the fate of these selfish, hateful toe-rags.” Time Out London


“It’s a violent affair, very like Dog Soldiers in which hard-as-nails Sergeant Sean Pertwee led a band of threatened squaddies on a doom-laden military exercise in Scotland, and somewhat arbitrary in its sense of what constitutes rough justice.” The Guardian

“Tight, by-the-book script, credited to Dario Poloni, moves the action at a predictable clip, and knows when to pause for a tension-breaking wisecrack from one of the ensemble or a quieter spooky moment.” Variety

” …street tuff dialogue sounds as though it was lifted off the last Dizzee Rascal album. Meanwhile, atrocious editing and hapless direction stifle interest long before the preposterous identity of the killer is exposed.” BBC

“Michael J Bassett’s horror film is lurid, wildly improbable and not especially well made, but it is also entertaining in its own B-movie way … There are lots of gruesome touches – heads impaled on sticks, bodies ripped to pieces – and some incongruously comic ones (for instance, the kids are reduced to eating barbecued dog).” The Guardian


“This over-literal, fright-free slasher is strictly for completist gorehounds and Home Secretaries seeking radical solutions to the high number of youth offenders.” Film4

” …a distinct improvement on Deathwatch. The characters are clearly defined, well-rounded and believable in their actions and reactions. And we are not asked to like any of them. There have been so many films glamourising aggressive thugs that it’s refreshing to watch a film where they are depicted as realistically anti-social low-lifes.” MJ Simpson, Urban Terrors: New British Horror Cinema 1997 – 2008


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Cast and characters:
Sean Pertwee … Jed – Howl; The Seasoning House; Dog Soldiers
Alex Reid … Louise – The Facility; ArachnidThe Descent
Toby Kebbell … Callum – Kong: Skull Island; A Monster Calls; Dawn of the Planet of the Apes
Stephen Wight … Steve
Luke Neal … Lewis
Ben McKay … Lindsay – Hot Fuzz
Lenora Crichlow … Mandy – Being Human; Doctor Who
Karly Greene … Jo
Adam Deacon … Blue
Richie Campbell … Jethro – The Frankenstein Chronicles

Filming locations:
Northern Ireland
Republic of Ireland


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