Families who write together stay together — at least, that's the case for Erik and Carson Bloomquist. The brothers frequently collaborate and partner on their projects, having worked on films like Night at the Eagle Inn, Ten Minutes to Midnight, and Long Lost. Now, the duo is back at it again with their new movie, She Came from the Woods. Carson, a producer on the film, co-wrote She Came from the Woods. Meanwhile, Erik also wore multiple hats as co-writer, director, and actor.
So, what happens when a group of disbelieving campers perform a ritual in their haunted campground? Nothing good, that's what. Fans of Netflix's Fear Street trilogy will particularly dig this horror flick — as will Stranger Things fans. In fact, Stranger Things fans may recognize momma Wheeler in She Came from the Woods. Actress Cara Buono plays Heather McCalister in the film: another well-intentioned but not-so-great mom.
Regal hosted the She Came from the Woods premiere at the Union Square location, where the cast and behind-the-scenes workers attended what felt like a fun camp reunion — featuring lots of laughs and cheers. Erik Bloomquist addressed the audience prior to the screening, noting, "The last time we were standing in front of a lot of you guys was on wrap day when we talked about the impossible thing that we just pulled off. And I still feel that way — even though some of you doubled in size since we last saw you."
Given how long it takes to shoot and produce a movie, it's no surprise that the film's many young cast members would have grown a foot or two since filming wrapped — especially with COVID delays. The director added, "A lot of people are talking about this fairly as a horror-comedy, but what it really is, we talked to a lot of you about, is a coming-of-age movie that happens to be a horror movie. Like Carson said, [it's] linked to our camp experiences."
Just Like the Camp You Remember
No one watching She Came from the Woods can deny the heavy camp influence that perfectly emulates what it's like to live at a sleepaway camp (minus the murder and hauntings, hopefully). Yet the film also captures the family dynamic both on and off the screen. Erik touched on this, explaining, "The word family gets thrown around a lot with film and indies especially, but I think it really is a genuine thing here. This is built on everyone's buy-in, and I'm super excited, I think we are all, to celebrate it in this way."
The premiere was certainly a celebration that emulated the in-movie camp closing ceremony. Cast members loudly cheered when their co-stars appeared on the screen for the first time, enhancing the experience for the few audience members who didn't actually work on the film.
Of course, She Came from the Woods isn't the first horror film to take place in a camp, and it won't be the last. But while movies like Friday the 13th take a more serious approach to the slasher genre, She Came From the Woods feels like a cross between Wet Hot American Summer, The Blair Witch Project, and Friday the 13th. Self-aware horror is the best kind of horror — and you can't have camp horror without a bit of camp. Hell, we even get a Friday the 13th reference in the movie.
Fans will likely have flashbacks to their own camp experiences playing Bloody Mary and having a camp counselor smear the mirror with red paint to freak out the younguns. (Wait, is that not a universal experience? The Bloomquist brothers know what's up.) And though the movie takes place in the '80s, She Came From the Woods tackles issues like toxic masculinity and internalized homophobia in a way that represents the ideologies of the time period without promoting or condoning them.
Additionally, Sharpay Evans would undoubtedly be proud of the blink-and-you'll-miss-it High School Musical reference that lends a nod to the blonde Queen B of East High. Clueless fans also won't be able to get the "Kids in America" song unstuck from their heads. Noxzema commercial vibes be damned.
She Came from the Woods is an easily digestible satirical horror romp, clocking in at a little over an hour and a half. There are as many laughs as bites, with plenty of nods to the '80s. If Surfer Boy Pizza was your favorite part of Stranger Things Season 4, She Came from the Woods has a few scenes that will fill that void. Between Scream (2022) and Bodies Bodies Bodies, Hollywood has been killing the satirical horror genre lately — and She Came from the Woods is the latest installment in a stellar run of self-aware horror.