by Alex Jackson A bunch of twentysomething idealists go out into the woods to get away from civilization, lugging plasma-screen displays and a refrigerator full of Capri Suns along with them. That's basically the one joke of Matthew Lessner's The Woods. It's a pretty good joke. The image of these pseudo-hippies playing "Wii Sports" in the middle of a forest is evocative in a way that cannot be readily communicated with words. Wyatt Garfield's cinematography effectively parodies the look of a Land's End or L.L. Bean catalogue, demonstrating how anti-consumerist sentimentality has essentially become another product to be consumed. Consumerism is part of our national identity; even in rejecting it, we are viewing ourselves in consumerist terms. The folly of these faux-naturalists isn't just in their hypocrisy, it's in their belief that they could exorcise the influence videogames and social media have had on their lives. Alas, aside from that one good joke and Garfield's aesthetic prowess, there's really not much to differentiate The Woods from that shot-by-shot remake of Raiders of the Lost Ark those kids from Mississippi made in the '80s. It's a textbook example of a film that was probably a lot of fun to make but isn't much fun to watch. Although Lessner seems to have encouraged his cast to improvise and come up with new variations on his central theme, he himself never builds upon it, and the movie meanders in a lateral direction. We quickly grasp everything The Woods has to say, at which point all there is to do is wait for it to end. It appears that everyone was so engrossed with the filmmaking process they forgot to actually make a film.