Fear Of The Woods (Review) It runs in the family…



Firstly, I’d just like to start off by saying thank you to Swedish-born Writer/Director, Titus Paar for allowing me early access to an online screener of his latest short film, the 17-minute Adventure/Thriller, “Fear Of The Woods”. Fear Of The Woods is set in the beautiful snow-covered region of Alaska during the early ’90s. A couple of long-standing bear hunting brothers (played by Ralf Beck and Australia’s very own Vernon Wells), and Damien (Christian Arnold) their son and nephew respectively, are in pursuit of a larger than life beast that threatens their small nearby mountain town.

I’ve been informed by Paar that this review for AdamTheMovieGod will officially be the first non-festival related critique – so I’m feeling the pressure to do the film justice (haha). I simply happened upon the trailer for what marks Paar Productions’ fifteenth short film because of a social media post by fellow filmmaker, Tom Konkle (Trouble Is My Business). Let that be a lesson for you in positive networking among the independent filmmaking business and using your platform to share your peer’s work along with your own. I was immediately hooked on the stunning landscape and the way in which DP, Marcus Moller captured it. I was surprised to find that he has limited screen credits to his name given his clearly very adept behind the camera. The film opens with some breathtaking drone footage of glaciers and waterfalls, in addition to some great wide establishing shots of the vast continent. The framing looks superb, the upshots are effective, and there’s a nice mix of shot selections throughout. The audio track is crisp, and Simon Kolle’s mostly upbeat adventurous score fits the tone of the film well. However, when the tension mounts he’s able to draw upon some melodies that can be likened to Alan Silvestri’s masterful “Predator” score. I think the three performances are all solid, though the actors don’t have to stretch themselves to any great length. The pacing (at 15 minutes minus credits) is perfect and the attention to detail in both costume design and creature animatronics mixed with practical fx elevates the film to greater heights. The bear itself looks mammoth in relation to the men and its shown sparingly until the climax.

I only noticed a couple of minor blights. The first was a seemingly flat reaction from both Wells and Arnold in relation to a swift moment of action mid-walk. On a couple of occasions, the image appeared to lag ever so briefly between cuts, although that could have just been a streaming issue (although I do have a fast internet connection). In summary, Fear Of The Woods is an expertly crafted survivalist thriller with outstanding production value. Paar’s eye is as good as any filmmaker in there 30’s that I’ve seen, so it doesn’t surprise me that this one is winning awards. The cinematography might just be the best we’ve seen in 2020 thus far, the score is vibrant, and the individuals behind the fx work are seriously talented. Fear Of The Woods is high stakes, edge of your seat type stuff and I’d love to see it developed into a full-length feature in the not too distant future. It’s currently doing the festival rounds so you might have to wait a while, but you can check out the official trailer below! Be sure to stay tuned because you don’t want to miss this one.

Fear Of The Woods – 9/10