Despite the title, Nobody Sleeps in the Woods Tonight does feature multiple people sleeping in the woods at night. I won’t hold this against it if you don’t.
You probably don’t know me. But if you did, you’d be aware I’m someone who’s inclined to watch a good slasher flick. In fact, I credit the sub-genre as being one of the main reasons as to why I like movies quite as much as I do. For those of you who don’t know what I mean by slasher, think Jason Voorhees, or Freddy Kreuger, for example. I’m sure there’s something particular about slasher movies that appeals to me, and after a little thought, I’ve decided it’s their naivety. Despite the blood and guts and the dramatics, the sub-genre has a cute collection of rules and character formulas that make most entries cosy, predictable affairs, which strikes what I would call a perfect balance between immoral visuals, and innocent sensibilities. Of course, this isn’t likely to always be intentional, and there are certainly exceptions.
W lesie dziś nie zaśnie nikt (Nobody Sleeps in the Woods Tonight) is a slasher movie that falls in line with a group of newer examples in the genre, which at this point in time seems only to exist to try and cash in on the current lucrativeness of ‘80s nostalgia (the decade that arguably saw the peak of slasher flicks). These newer entries into the genre are fairly heavy with the references and do their best to justify the concept of a group of teenagers being victim to a weapon-wielding killer in a remote location with a modern set-up. But the last two sentences aren’t reason to say that this lessens their entertainment value, and if you’re a fan of slashers as I am, I’d take a guess at you having seen a couple of these modern iterations and enjoying them. A handful of standouts that immediately come to my mind are; Better Watch Out, Happy Death Day, The Ranger, and The Final Girls.
If you aren’t a slasher fan, but you’re considering a watch of Nobody Sleeps in the Woods Tonight, either because you’re in the mood for a horror movie now that nighttime starts at 5pm, or because you’ve simply been struck with the hankering for some unstoppable-killer-versus-final-girl action, frankly, I’d recommend you check out one of the aforementioned instead. If none of the above are tickling your fancy, then I’d say you should harken back a few years and select one of the hundreds of slashers that are already out there. If you’re a letterboxd user, you might find this list handy.
Now, to the nitty-gritty. “Yes Kai, we get it, you watch horror movies, you and everybody else man, we just wanna know how Nobody Sleeps in the Woods Tonight ranks in the usual slasher areas”. OK, I hear you. Firstly, there’s nothing overly new happening as far as the kills are concerned, and the first one is either a blatant rip-off or a loving homage to one of Friday the 13th’s most infamous on-screen deaths (not to spoil it, but it features a sleeping bag). After that the usual poked-through-the-eyeballs and speared-in-the-mouth type scenes follow, they all look suitably gruesome, but if you’re a fan looking for some demise-related innovation, you won’t find it here.
All of your favorite archetypes are present, the quiet girl with a mysterious past, the geeky dude who seems to know they’re in a horror movie, the athlete, the attractive blonde subject to cringe-inducing sexualising camera angles, and the councillor who was either written to be comedic, or comes across as hilarious due to an exaggerated performance. Of course, the usual nod to weed-smoking is present and the uncomfortable sex scene that happens directly before the killing spree initiates is still well and truly a slasher staple. This now being 2020, slasher fans who haven’t seen any of these flicks since the ‘90s will be pleasantly surprised that the genre now has room for an LGBTQIA+ character, and the blonde isn’t actually a sex-fiend but has a slither of character development. Unfortunately, these character-driven moments don’t last long, and in the grand scheme of things, when met with an undefeatable murderer, their backgrounds don’t offer much protection.
The biggest thing that’s likely to draw you to Nobody Sleeps in the Woods Tonight is that it’s a through-and-through slasher that isn’t American. In fact, the flick is Polish, which for a person who’s never seen a Polish slasher (like myself) is most curious. I’m not saying that this specific corner of horror didn’t ever make it out of America, because it certainly did, but if it’s not already intriguing that the slasher genre continues to see new entries in 2020, then it’s certainly intriguing that a movie marketed as Poland’s first slasher would be released not only in 2020, but by Netflix of all companies. And on top of all that, it really is a fun watch. So here’s to the continued existence of slasher movies, and to all you wonderful people who still support them.
Nobody Sleeps in the Woods Tonight is now available to watch on Netflix.