Thursday, December 2, 2021

‘The Girl in the Woods’ Review: Scares and Heart Make This ‘Girl’ Unique

Just in time for Halloween, Crypt TV’s The Girl in the Woods has landed on Peacock for some fright night binging. The series follows Carrie (Stefanie Scott), a cult escapee who teams up with Nolan (Misha Osherovich) and Tasha (Sofia Bryant) to stop the evil lurking in the woods behind a door that the cult is sworn to protect the world from, all while outrunning the ruthless cult members hunting Carrie down. Heartfelt and genuinely scary, The Girl in the Woods is perfect for fans looking for a solid YA horror protagonist and excellent LGBTQIA+ representation.

Stefanie Scott as Carrie Ecker, Misha Osherovich as Nolan Frisk, Sofia Bryant as Tasha Gibson — (Photo by: Scott Green/Peacock)

Those who have watched Crypt TV evolve from producing horror shorts to full series will find a lot to love here. The show itself is based on two of their short films, The Door in the Woods and The Girl in the Woods, though there are changes to both in adapting them into this series. The concept itself is intriguing, and the visual of the door in the woods and the monsters we eventually see lurking behind it are both well done. For a short eight-episode run (each episode is 30 minutes), a lot of world-building needs to be accomplished in precious screen time, but it never feels like an info dump for the audience.

Stefanie Scott as Carrie Ecker — (Photo by: Scott Green/Peacock)

This is because head writer Jane Casey Modderno and her team are careful to let the characters and their emotions lead the way. While secrets are revealed and monsters are unleashed, the focus is always on Carrie, Nolan, and Tasha — a smart decision considering the three leads are all excellent. Scott gives Carrie a lot of depth, playing both the terrifying warrior side of her and the scared teenager. Carrie feels both familiar and otherworldly, a creepier Katniss Everdeen. Her complicated romance with Sara (Kylie Liya Page), another cult member, is passionate and provides a lot of the emotional base for her character. Having a queer romance front and center is refreshing for the genre, and it adds an interesting dynamic to Carrie’s scenes.

Pictured: Misha Osherovich as Nolan Frisk — (Photo by: Scott Green/Peacock)
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Of the trio, the most affecting character is Nolan. Nolan is non-binary, and The Girl in the Woods offers one of the best depictions of realizing one’s queer identity that I’ve ever seen on screen. They struggle with intimacy, addiction, finding support from their parents, and with their own complex feelings that don’t offer a clear path. They’re sarcastic and provide quite a bit of comic relief, but they’re also the source of many of the season’s most affecting moments. One episode late in the series in particular is a gut-punch as Nolan attempts to come out to their father, who can understand Nolan being “gay” (their father’s assumption) but is cruel regarding their gender identity. Osherovich delivers a multi-faceted and unique performance that gets to the heart of Nolan’s fears and desires. Their journey is treated with respect and given enough space to breathe, and it’s a great addition to the sadly limited non-binary representation in media.

Overall, The Girl in the Woods is an entertaining and surprisingly moving series that is sure to appeal to anyone looking for well done scares and emotional depth from their horror viewing experience. For more content including exclusive interviews and more, check out our The Girl in the Woods archive!

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Jules
I am a nurse and dedicated nerd from Boston, MA. When I'm not at work, I'm rewatching old favorites like Supernatural or discovering my new obsessions (too many to count!). When not fangirling, I can be found reading, writing, or listening to a true crime podcast. You can find me on Twitter @juleswritesblog for more nerdy nonsense.

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