The found footage genre has been one of the more divisive sub-genres among members of the horror community. You either love the film style or you hate it. There’s usually no in-between. Of course, some films are better than others, and even found footage haters can’t deny the impact that the subject has had on the horror genre. What side of the coin does Panteon Woods land on? Read on to find out.
This found footage story was written and directed by Micheal Ramova, who also directed the NES Friday the 13th fan film. Panteon Woods is his first full-length feature and the film stars Heather Jane Farr (The Astronomer), Nixon Vicci (22 After), and Richard Wotkun (Between Western and California).
Panteon Woods is about two sisters, Riley (Farr) and Rebecca Rey (Vicci), who run their own YouTube channel that talks about hauntings and UFOs. They had heard rumors about a creature called Chanoc, a supposed werewolf lurking in the Panteon Woods, and decide to investigate in the hopes of increasing their subscriber base. With the help of a professional tracker named Gregory Blackrot (Wotkun), they set out into the woods. Once there, the trio start experiencing some strange things and they realize that they may have bitten off more than they can chew.
I’m not much of a found footage fan – a film has to be extremely done well to really impress me. Going into this review, I decided to judge the film without my biased opinions. Unfortunately, that outlook didn’t help my opinion of the film at all. The plot of the story plays out very similar to The Blair Witch Project. In fact, it was so similar that it just felt rehashed, starting with the myth that attracts three people into a town where they interview the local residents about the Chanoc and then they head into the woods where nothing happens until night time. Speaking of nothing happening, the film has no action until the last 20 or so minutes and the reveal was a complete letdown.
Two out of the three actors (the Riley sisters) were not all that engaging, while the character of Gregoy Blackrot was off and on with his performance. The film also fell into the trap of not giving a reason as to why the characters would continue recording.
The things I did like about Panteon Woods was the cinematography. Everything was beautifully shot with an HD camera. The locations they chose (mainly the woods themselves) were gorgeous, especially since it seemed to be set at the beginning of fall.
As for the people of the town that were being interviewed, most of their stories about the Chanoc were strange and quite funny. I would have loved to see more of them on screen.
My final thoughts on Panteon Woods are that, unless you are a found footage fan that needs to see everything this genre has to offer, I wouldn’t waste my time. There are plenty of films in the genre that have done very similar things but were executed better. Who knows, maybe it will be right up your alley… let us know! Panteon Woods is available now on Amazon Prime.