The free movie we’re sharing for this week’s Friday Fright Nights is the Australian horror film Lurking Woods
A full Free Movie of the Day is posted on the JoBlo Horror Movies YouTube channel every other day during the week – but on Fridays things get even freakier and a little more fun. Get your weekend started the right way by indulging in Friday Fright Nights! Every Friday, we’ll be taking a look at another genre movie you can watch in its entirety, free of charge, either on the YouTube channel linked above or in the video embed here.
The Friday Fright Night feature we have for you this week is the horror film (or the “suspense thriller”, as the filmmakers describe it) Lurking Woods. This one was an Australian production, but the set-up works all around the world: a group of young friends head off to spend a relaxing time in the countryside and end up being menaced by a dangerous person wearing a mask. In this case, the masked person is lurking in the woods that surround their vacation spot. You see, they’re “lurking” in the “woods”, thus the title Lurking Woods. Which makes it sound like the woods themselves are a threat to our protagonists, but that’s not the direction this movie goes in. It’s not part of the Evil Dead franchise, or even an Evil Dead knock-off.
It is a version of a story we’ve seen multiple times before, but it tells that story with an Australian accent – so let’s take a moment to address the fact that Australian horror doesn’t seem to get referenced often enough in genre discussions. Sure, you have breakthrough modern hits like The Babadook and the Wolf Creek franchise, and the “nature run amok” movies Black Water and The Reef did well enough to spawn sequels, but there is a whole lot of Australian horror out there waiting for a wider audience. Even cult classics like Patrick and Razorback are under-seen. One of my favorites is the 1981 thriller Road Games, which stars Stacy Keach and Jamie Lee Curtis, but somehow gets overlooked when fans are listing Curtis’s early ’80s genre movies, overshadowed by The Fog, Prom Night, Terror Train, and Halloween II. It deserves to be part of the discussion.
I should go on an Australian horror binge myself one of these days… so if you have some Australian horror favorites, let me know about them.
Back to Lurking Woods… This movie was directed by Rizal Halim and scripted by Desmond Hew and Darryl Westrup. The story follows a group of six young ex university students that have all decided to catch up with each other after a year apart. They have all agreed to spend a luxurious weekend away in a tranquil woods location together. The girls of the group have secretly organised a “seek and search” game that will result in which guy will end up spending time with which girl for the weekend. We watch as they group start to enjoy sharing stories of times gone by, and at the same time we experience the beautiful Australian scenery and landscape. After a bit of frolicking around, we start to follow the game that the girls had devised. It is quickly discovered that not all seems to be fun and games in the peaceful neck of the woods. A masked person is lurking around in the woods and spying. Before too long the eerie masked person has appeared to have gone crazy and starts attacking the group individually as he follows them. The story takes us through twists and turns and highs and lows throughout the movie, giving you an array of emotions and keeping you in suspense as to what is going to happen next, to who is behind the mask and why it’s all happening. Not everything is as it appears.
Troy Coward, Hope Devaney, Daniel Berenger, Chloe Brown, Kyle James Sargon, Dominique Shenton, Michael Rainone, Vivienne Marshall, Bryan Chance, Rod Manikam, Cassee Lazic, Jasmine Nibali, Dan Minchilli, Wayne Walton, Warren Masilamony, Rod Hobson, Tannah Wilford-Zammit, Scott Walton, and Otto Freeman star. Co-writer Darryl Westrup also has an acting role in the film.
Halim got started in the entertainment industry as an actor, appearing in the films The Hired Killer, Apocalypse Code, and Prince of the City before making his feature directorial debut with the movie we’re watching today, Lurking Woods. Since making Lurking Woods, he has gone on to direct the 2019 action movie Tainted Getaway… And that title also could have worked for Lurking Woods.
So check out Lurking Woods – it’s free! – and let us know what you thought of it by leaving a comment below or on the YouTube page.