My notes on Enclosure
In his werewolf variant Nailbiter, director/writer Patrick Rea came up with a refreshingly different take on an old monster – and deployed it efficiently in a siege storyline. Here, abetted by co-writer Michelle Davidson, Rea does something similar for the don’t-go-in-the-woods film, seemingly venturing down the well-trodden path in search of Bigfoot (evoking recent efforts like Willow Creek and Hunting the Legend) but then coming up with a new myth-monster species and building the suspense plot around an interesting sexual dynamic. Dana (Fiona Dourif) and her husband Charles (Kevin Ryan) hike out into the South Carolina woods for some alone time – she’s pregnant, but only just working up to telling him. It’s established that there have been disappearances in these parts, and that pregnant women are particularly likely to turn up missing. In a feint, the couple’s first night in a tent is marred because some local yahoos set up nearby to drink beer and fire off guns – but instead of becoming the chief menace, they are attacked by unknown woodland creatures and Dana and Charles take in gravely-wounded Sean (reliably untrustworthy hick Jake Busey), who sits in their tent simmering and scheming, yarning about local Indian legends, trying to put a wedge between the couple (while seeming to hit on Dana, though he has another agenda) and getting on their last nerve. Surely, the tent can’t be a magical barrier against the monsters? Anyone outside is fair game to the human-tree hybrids (with leaves and bark on their hands) but the central trio are left alone for the moment. It’s up for debate whether the creatures, who are related somehow to a historical massacre of tribal women, are too far-fetched even for this sort of movie, and they become less scary the more we see of them …but again Rea hasn’t taken an easy route, and there’s at least as much going on inside the tent as the city folks do their best to help the shifty, perhaps dangerous Sean as there is out in the woods, where there are occasional bursts of gory action. The woodland atmosphere is pleasing and the three lead performances are good.
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