Period pieces have a special set of obstacles and problems to get past in order to create a worthwhile experience, and they are particularly difficult to do well on a low budget. Eyes of the Woods is a semi-period piece (part 1700's America, and part modern day), and its inability to execute the sets, costumes, accents, etc. in its opening portion only highlight the shortcomings is has to deal with overall.
A long time ago in Knob's Creek, Christopher Wicker (Ed Pope), forsakes God and performs a ritual to dedicate himself to the devil after his daughter dies from an illness. He soon transforms into a hideous beast and begins killing off anyone who wanders into the woods after dark.
Cut to the present, and a young group of friends are packed into a filthy van, driving into those very same woods for a bit of camping. Of course, this being a horror movie, things aren't going to end well. Almost immediately, the van conks out, as well as all the cell phones, including the satellite phone. This doesn't dissuade the group, who proceeds with camping, and the disappearance that night of Kelly (Lira Kellerman) after she wanders off in the night doesn't perturb them overmuch either.
People get picked off pretty quickly as the beast hunts them down, as well as a couple of other campers, and a random woman whose name we never know. The whole thing tends toward the disjointed and confusing. There are a lot of scenes of people wandering around aimlessly in the woods, searching for their friends, and occasionally getting killed and eaten.
The performances are hit and miss, but none of them are exceptionally good. During the historical section, the acting is melodramatic and false, and has no feeling of fitting in the period in which it is set. The modern day scenes have better performances, but they still seem awkward and overplayed.
The blood and gore effects are quite good, though, and the creature makeup is very, very good. However, these positives cannot overcome the listless and meandering plot and poor performances. At eighty one minutes, Eyes of the Woods is not a long film, but it never seems to have focus. No sense of fear or dread is ever established. No tension is felt. This is one to skip.
The video is 1.78:1 widescreen, and does not look that good. The image is murky and dark, and has a lot of grain.
Audio is Dolby 2.0 channel, and can be tinny at times, but basically works adequately. Dialogue is mostly audible, and no major audio problems can be heard. No subtitles are alternate audio tracks are included.
Although a number of extras are listed as included on the box, such as an audio commentary and behind the scenes featurette, none of these are actually on the disc.
Eyes of the Woods is a fairly standard beautiful people get killed supernatural thriller, that simply can't get its act together. Although there are some points of real excellence, such as the creature and blood effects, the film is mostly a muddle, and can't overcome the bad aspects. Sadly, this one isn't worth the investment of time.