For a lot of people, the great outdoors is the ultimate vacation. Whether you’re out roughing it, glamping it up, or even just having a few drinks by the river with friends as you cook out. We feel at peace and comfortable given that the outdoors can be a comical sense of entertainment… or a nightmare with slashers and things that go bump in the night. Personally, I tend to watch just vacation videos on TV on places to visit or even videos on how to improve your backyard.
Today, the movie I want to talk about is the indie film, As The Village Sleeps, directed by Terry Spears (Agent Jade Black 2020).
Let’s dive right in and talk about this film.
A smart yet naive college girl organizes a birthday celebration at her stepfather’s cabin, bringing together a volatile group of friends and family. While playing a mysterious party game, nightmares blend with reality, and the friends struggle to survive as the living game attacks and turn them against each other
Visually, As the Village Sleeps is stunning. The director of photography, Titus Fox (Hellraiser: Judgement 2017), did a great job showcasing the look of both interior and exterior scenes, including some shots in areas that for a lot of indie filmmakers would be troublesome. I always enjoy seeing scenes filmed perfectly to that of a music video.
The characters fit the mold of an expendable cast of a younger generation to horror. However, they didn’t really hold my attention within the plot of the film. I didn’t feel any connection to them—or even the movie itself, honestly—to where I was invested in the story.
The story sounds interesting and could possibly work as a CW drama episode, but for me, it falls short. The concept of werewolves is introduced in a game causing chaos for the campers as they wake up the next day, confused about what’s going with their missing friends. As the Village Sleeps could have used a different element of the film to cause tension. I think if the movie used a supernatural force or even possession that turns into a slasher movie, it would’ve worked better. We would’ve had tension build-up where we would never know who the killer is, and they can all be possessed. That would be better.
Filmmakers can make audiences scared of who to trust or even develop characters where we can feel anything for them. Instead after viewing the movie, I just felt bored and wondering why was there such a great beginning scene. It was done well on an indie budget, but just didn’t have the impact I was looking for.
Overall, this film has potential but falls short, which hurts it. I’m sure when being written by Chloe Bellende, the story was seen one way, but transferred onto the screen, it didn’t execute well. I will say some of the older actors did a great job playing the townspeople. They were concerned and confused about whether these kids should be trusted or not. You need these kinds of characters for a movie like As The Village Sleeps. If you’re out in the middle of nowhere and things begin to happen, trust is a key factor to survival.