They’ve been called “dead teenager movies” ever since Siskel and Ebert gave them that label. And they follow the same formula, the same “rules” the world over — even in Poland.
“Nobody Sleeps in the Woods Tonight,” or “W lesie dzis nie zasnie nikt,” is a classic “filmy z martwymi nastolatkami (dead teenagers movie).”
It’s got teens — some of them archetypal “horny teenagers.” They’re in the forest, shipped there by their parents because they’ve become device and gaming and social media addicts.
And there’s something or someone there out to slaughter them, one by one.
The characters are The Usual Suspects — the nerd (Michal Lupa), the self-absorbed Youtube “star” (Sebastian Dela), the bombshell blonde (Wiktoria Gasiewska), the bully who might be projecting (Stanislaw Cywka)and the quiet girl with the Big Secret and the switchblade (Julia Wieniawa-Narkiewicz).
Only the nerd, prattling on about worries, movies and his gaming career, makes much of an impression. And everything he says and does has been acted out 144 times before in other dead teenager movies, most of them in English.
But we don’t watch such films for the surprises. We watch for the creative, twisted and sometimes funny means of slaughter, the nudity, the “sex means a death sentence” familiarity and the jokes — often made by the nerdy “type” who’s made himself an expert on the genre and its immutable laws and rules.
“When groups split up, people die” Julek has observed. As have we. Many, many times. The thing that hamstrings “Nobody Sleeps in the Woods” is that even the jokes about the genre are so over-familiar that we know them (in English, or in Polish with English subtitles) before the set-up line is finished.
The threat isn’t unseen, but viewed in the open mere minutes into the movie. The threat is over-“explained” at some point.
And yes, the kids and their camp counselor (Gabriela Muskala) “split up.”
Any questions? Any doubt who will strip naked, or who will be the Last Camper Standing?
MPA Rating: TV-MA, bloody violence, sex, nudity
Cast: Julia Wieniawa-Narkiewicz, Michal Lupa, Wiktoria Gasiewska, Sebastian Dela, Stanislaw Cywka, Gabriela Muskala
Credits: Directed by Bartosz M. Kowalski, script by Bartosz M. Kowalski, Jan Kwiecinski and Mirella Zaradkiewicz. A Netflix release.
Running time: 1:42