This film has been a journey for me.
From the first time I watched it alone in my room, to seeing it soar on the big screen at the finals, I've grown to begrudgingly love it for all the reasons why I wouldn't have recommended it was a good idea in the first place.
What summer co/crazy horses/Kawiti and Elliot have down pat is a really effective nightmarish quality to their weirdness. Anyone can be weird or absurd, but these guys do it in a way that feel like there's a Lynchian message below the surface, even though there probably isn't. It's the little touches of "I wouldn't have thought of that" which really sell this film, like making the lover Spanish, or the main character completely changing personalities halfway through the movie.
This is very much a spiritual sequel to "Second Skin", my favourite film by this crew to date, and while I took a little longer to warm up to this one, all of the elements which made their original fever dream great, are all here too, if a little more intentionally silly with that ending. Oh boy that ending.
As close friends of mine, the guys on this team have often lamented to me that they don't have a writer, but I'm starting to wonder if that's the beauty of their style, because when you don't have a writer, you end up falling into way more insane ideas that a writer would have probably just said no to. While the camerawork, editing and performances here are all running at 110%, it's the creative voice of the piece which really allows it to feel like a complete film. My advice for next year would be to keep this team spirit alive, but recruit more team members on board so you aren't stretching yourselves so thin- don't get a writer though.
As for your title, surely there's something better than "in the woods" for this film. You guys need a writer. Lol.