If a gorgeous woman wants to go camping on the first date, it’s definitely a red flag.
In Crone Wood, Irish writer-director Mark Sheridan’s ultra low-budget, found footage debut, a very cute couple hit upon the novel idea of pitching a tent in the great outdoors and documenting their overnight excursion on camera.
Danny (Ed Murphy) is still pinching himself over meeting the beautiful, free-spirited Hailey (Elva Trill), and doesn’t want their evening to end. When she suggests a hiking and camping adventure, he’s only too happy to take her to the Army Surplus store for sleeping bags—especially after Hailey informs him that they’ll be sharing a tent.
The two tentatively get to know each other, passing Danny’s camera back and forth recording the lush scenery and their jokey, lovey-dovey insights. Hailey mocks Danny’s attempts to set up camp, and later throws a fit when she finds the camera running during a spirited make-out session.
Danny confesses that he’s never been with a woman as hot as Hailey, and he wanted something to remember her by when she inevitably comes to her senses and dumps him.
Soon Danny will have more serious problems.
As the nascent couple wanders deeper into the wild Irish countryside, they come upon ruined stone structures which they explore by daylight and again in the darkness by the light of the camera.
Danny is convinced that someone is following them. Why this necessitates a midnight run through a twisty, crumbling obstacle course is unclear, but he is soon proven correct, as the novice campers are pursued and captured by masked followers of a witches coven who’ve inhabited Crone Wood since time immemorial.
And things get real between Hailey and Danny. Real intense.
At this point, comparisons to folk-horror landmarks such as Wicker Man and Midsommar will be inevitable, though there is a crucial difference, in terms of the fate that awaits Danny.
Crowdfunded for a measly $17,000 and filmed in about two weeks, Crone Wood is nevertheless a captivatingly creepy feature especially if you’re a lovestruck sucker punching above their weight class.
Really, aren’t we all?