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January 1, 2022

A Binge too Far #20: Nobody Sleeps in the Woods Tonight duo (2020 – 2021)

Frame from Nobody Sleeps in the Woods Tonight (2020)

Happy new year! For me New Year’s Eve is always about changes and setting new goals. Well, for starters, I thought I’d change the way my posts work in Cinema Head Cheese. You’ll still be getting one post per month by yours truly, but whereas both my columns were bi-monthly, for 2022 you’ll get A Binge too Far posts on the 1st of January, February, April, May, July, August, October, November, and you’ll get Static Age posts on the 1st of March, June, September, and December. In other words, for every two A Binge too Far posts, you’ll get one Static Age post. I decided upon this new arrangement in order for Static Age to grow a bit bigger and include more content each time (I’m thinking more than 1,500 words per post), while of course A Binge too Far will remain pretty much the same, with a couple of reviews crammed in each post. Got it?


Nobody Sleeps in the... (2020)

Nobody Sleeps in the Woods Tonight


Directed by Bartosz M. Kowalski (his second feature) this Netflix original from Poland, is about a group of internet-addicted teenagers (aren’t they all?) that join a reform camp in the woods of the aforementioned country in order to take some time offline; but it looks that someone or something is taking them off – period – in the most gruesome of ways.


Featuring an original concept (as it becomes apparent from the film’s premise) that is also quite convenient (mobile phones in horror films have been a problem since the device’s inception), this does not manage to stay away from the slasher tropes and quickly ends up being formulaic. The villain owes a lot to the Hatchet film series (2006 – present) and the tone is mostly reminiscent of the Wrong Turn franchise (2003 – present).


However, by aiming for an old school approach – the special effects are awesome in all their practical glory – and employing inventive kills, this is a winner. Special mention should be given to Radzimir Debski’s score, which would not be out of place in any 1960s Italian exploitation, and it could in fact have been composed by Riz Ortolani.


Nobody Sleeps in the Woods Tonight 2 (2021)

Nobody Sleeps in the Woods Tonight
 2 (2021)


Following the events of the first film, this sequel helmed by returning director Bartosz M. Kowalski (who also penned the screenplay with Mirella Zaradkiewicz) leaves aside the original’s teenage-centric sensibilities and opts for a love story involving monsters.


Featuring wilder practical special effects and set-pieces, this loses steam with its enhanced comedy elements (apparently Poland is a country in which it is still relevant to make jokes about the connection between prostitution and HIV, or small dicks and swastikas). Elsewhere the Abbott and Costello approach fails miserably, making the end result seem tired, lifeless, and too self-conscious for its own good. However, it is still visceral enough to guarantee for an at least interesting visual experience, while some of its references are interesting [signaling Maniac Cop (1988) is always welcome].

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