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Woodlands Dark and Days Bewitched: A History of Folk Horror (SXSW) review

Long form documentaries are fast becoming par for the course, with the Never Sleep Again, Crystal Lake Memories and In Search of Darkness deep dives.

Kier-La Janisse’s 3 hour plus opus to folk horror is as fascinating as it is detailed, with a worldwide exploration of the themes that are explored in this sub-genre plus how they are interpretations, in some cases, of real-life events.

Split into six parts, we look at some renowned folk horror classics such as The Wicker Man, Witchfinder General and Blood on Satan’s Claw and delve into what made these films iconic.

From its roots in the UK we also explore renowned authors plus paganism and witchcraft whilst looking at the event of cults across the pond in the US, with things such as the Manson murders.

Janisse also extends further and we look at how folk horror is interpreted in countries such as Japan, Mexico, Australia and parts of Europe.

As stated in the outset Woodlands Dark and Days Bewitched is three hours plus but it never seems bloated, with every detail well thought out, which makes the running time fly by.

This reviewer is not as schooled on folk horror as others, but after watching this documentary I am happy to say I have a whole new watch list created of deep and disturbing films to watch soon.

Woodlands Dark and Days Bewitched: A History of Folk Horror screened as part of the SXSW Film Festival 2021.

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