Feed the tree.
After assisting her mother’s death, Theresa (Kirsten Dunst) is haunted by some crazy stuff. Some of that has to do with the obvious-trauma suffered, the fact that her boss (Pilou Asbaek) is a bit of a dick, and/or that her boyfriend (Joe Cole) isn’t doing all that much for her, either. But most of it comes from the fact that she’s been smoking a whole lot of recreational marijuana, which not only has her experiencing all sorts of premonitions, but also possibly drawing her closer and closer to the afterlife. But what is there awaiting her? Better yet, is any of it worth it? And to make matters worse, she keeps on finding herself in the woods, talking to and looking at the trees, which can only mean one thing: She’s clearly possessed.
Actually, I’m not entirely sure.
As the writing/directing debut of Kate and Laura Mulleavy, aka the founders of the fashion-label Rodarte, Woodshock spells out a lot of hope and promise for the duo in the near-future. However, that future may only be in the next couple years; in the meantime, we’re stuck with Woodshock, a trippy, stylized, and awfully boring piece of pretentious pseudo-thriller that seems like it has a lot to show us, but really, doesn’t have much else other than that.
In other words, it’s big, bright, beautiful, and a little cool-looking, but when you get right down to it, peel away all of the colors, and really see what’s on underneath the hood, turns out, there’s nothing really. It’s all just shiny, pretty colors and is that much of a surprise coming from the founders of a fashion-label? Not really. However, you would expect that with a good chunk of money behind this, a solid ensemble, and hell, even a slightly promising premise, that something would give.
But nope. It doesn’t.
If anything, Woodshock proves that the Mulleavy’s have a lot of growing to do, in terms of their scripts. Cause it seems like there’s clearly a visual-story going on here and never once does it seem like they’re slacking in that department – it’s just really hard to go much of anywhere else when that’s all you’ve got. Without a story, a compelling script, or hell, even reasonably watchable characters, all of the bright and shiny colors can only go so far. There has to be something more to it all and without it, Woodshock falls apart.
It gets credit for not being a visual-bore and really working in that sense, which is why it’s a hard movie to be totally against. But when you take into consideration how much thought and care was put into the way the thing looks, it’s really hard to forgive it for not really putting much of any thought into its actual story. Which is weird, because the Mulleavy’s seem like they’re trying to give us a bunch of twists and turns that we don’t see coming, or strands of plot that we have to piece together ourselves, but it still somehow doesn’t work.
Their hearts aren’t in that aspect of the film and it’s what keeps Woodshock away from being anything resembling good.
And you have to feel bad for Kirsten Dunst, who truly seems to be trying with her mostly silent, but tense performance as a woman who literally seems on the brink of self-destruction. It’s a solid showing on her part, because it reminds us that she can put in good work, even when there’s nothing to really work from, but after awhile, you do feel bad for. She’s acting so weird, so crazy, so depressing, and so out-of-it, for essentially, nothing. Sure, she may have gotten a paycheck and a chance to work with some possibly interesting directors, but really, the end-result doesn’t show that.
It just shows that these writers and directors have a long, long way to go.
Consensus: Though it’s visually stimulating, deep inside of Woodshock, there isn’t much else with a weak script, hardly any story, and characters that we don’t really care to know or even get the opportunity to know.
4.5 / 10
Photos Courtesy of: A24