The Barrens (2012)

The terrifying legend of the Jersey Devil is alive

Writer: Darren Lynn Bousman
Director: Darren Lynn Bousman

The Barrens (aka ‘The Devil in the Woods’) sees Richard (Stephen Moyer) taking his family on a camping expedition in the Pine Barrens. They soon discover that something has recently been killing local wildlife. Is it a bear or something more sinister? To make things worse, Richard begins having visions of a monster.

The first half is pretty standard B movie fare, even down the cookie cutter family (up tight father, second wife, surly teenager and cute kid). The film is based loosely on the legend of the Jersey Devil, but you don’t need to know about the story – there’s a big infodump that explains it all.

In fact the first half of the film is so uninspiring that I almost gave up. I’m glad I didn’t because the story takes a big swerve and the quality improves rapidly. In fact it keeps getting better right the way to an excellent albeit predictable ending.

So in the end I really enjoyed The Barrens. It’s certainly not what I expected from someone who’s been so heavily involved in the Saw franchise.

Unfortunately I suspect the film suffers from being classified as a simple monster movie. It’s more than that; those who want a full on monster feature will be disappointed, those who want something more intelligent might well not watch it at all.

Persevere, it’s worth it.