Living alone out in the woods, a man welcomes his brother and his family out to visit, but when a strange series of encounters with strange beings out in the woods occur he comes to believe the old stories from his grandmother about an evil being living out in the woods and tries to stop it. There was quite a lot to like in this one. One of the better elements to be had is the film's folk-horror leanings to build an enjoyable atmosphere present. With the vast majority of the film taking place in the woods, the idea of his routine as he goes about setting up in the woods gathering food, monitoring his residence or going out with his dog to keep his skill sharp before his brother comes to visit, the sense of isolation found here makes for an engrossing start since this normalcy is always tainted by ideas that something sinister is lurking just off-screen deep in the woods. As that woodland lifestyle grows more comforting, those ideas of something twisted living out there with him. The slow-burn approach here means that the creepy happenings, starting innocently with the dogs' disappearance and his grandmother's continued insistence that a being named Sator is in contact with her that can be written off as delusional rantings of a senile old-woman, they slowly start to tell a larger, darker story. Fueled by the demonic, barely audible whispers and strange feelings that something's in the woods, watching him, this makes for a rather enjoyable effort here as it feels as though the buildup is going somewhere. That also leads to the eventual outcome where the build-up finally pays off. Ignited by the nightmarish confrontation in the woods, there's a sudden and noticeable change of tone here where the film picks up speed and intensity in the series of encounters out in the woods. The sense of foreboding atmosphere in the woods is impressive and the snowfall creatures a picturesque look to everything, while the two attacks here are both chilling and creepy which are quite fun to see play out. Combined with the few brutal moments we get here that leave quite an impression and the twisted look of the demons, these are what work well for this one. That said, there are a few problems here. The main element that holds this one back is a dull and dreary pace that rarely allows anything to happen. Despite the slowly encroaching dread, this one never provides any energy to anything and is so laid-back and restrained in its delivery that it's possible to check out quite easily. As these scenes, from the brotherly relationship to the family dynamics that we get an idea about in their home-video flashbacks and simply wandering through their lives, just float on by with very little enthusiasm which put off a lot of viewers which is the main detrimental factor here. Rated Unrated/R: Violence and Language.
Secluded in a desolate forest, a broken family is observed by Sator, a supernatural entity who is attempting to claim them.
February 11, 2021