Filmmaker Adam Wingard has emerged as a fan-favorite among horror film buffs in recent years, thanks to his work on the V/H/S franchise (he directed the segments “Tape 56” in V/H/S and “Phase 1 Clinical Trials” in V/H/S/2) as well as his 1970s and ’80 horror and/or thriller genre throwback offerings: You’re Next and The Guest. Further bolstering his status as a horror director to watch for, Wingard recently directed an episode of Cinemax’s newly-debuted Outcast TV series (a supernatural horror series created by The Walking Dead‘s Robert Kirkman) and has another genre homage movie arriving in theaters this year, simply titled The Woods.
The Woods revolves around a group of college students – played by Valorie Curry (The Following), Brandon Scott (The Last of Us), Callie Hernandez (From Dusk Till Dawn: The Series) and James Allen McCune (Shameless) among them – who take a camping trip to the woods, where they encounter… something bad. A teaser trailer was released for The Woods earlier this year (you can watch it above), though the preview naturally avoids spoiling exactly what terrible thing(s) the film’s characters cross paths with in the wilderness.
EW has now confirmed that The Woods – a movie that Wingard directed based on a script penned by his go-to screenwriter, Simon Barrett – will be screened in public for the first time at the 2016 Comic-Con International in San Diego, ahead of its September U.S. theatrical release. Additional details about the screening will become available closer to when the 2016 Comic-Con event gets underway, but for now it’s been revealed the the screening will take place on Friday, July 22nd, at 7 p.m. PST. You can also check out the new poster for The Woods unveiled by EW, below.
San Diego Comic-Con has a tried-and-true tradition of serving as the public debut for under-the-radar movies that have the potential to become future cult favorites – like when Dredd premiered at the event in 2012, or when Wingard’s own You’re Next was screened at the ‘Con in 2013. Similarly, M. Night Shyamalan’s horror/thriller The Visit was able to start generating positive buzz ahead of its theatrical debut in 2015 with its own Comic-Con International screening(s) – and it’s plausible that The Woods will ultimately follow in that movie’s footsteps this year, too, seeing as it’s the sort of genre film that should go over well with the larger Comic-Con crowd.
Wingard’s previous horror and/or thriller offerings have also been part of a larger wave of lower-budgeted/indie horror genre features that have earned much in the way of critical applause over the past few years – a list that includes such titles as It Follows, The Witch, and Green Room, among others. The Woods may be a more serious variation on the “young people encounter terrible things in the woods” trope than such well-known movies as Sam Raimi’s first two Evil Dead films (or the semi-parody The Cabin the Woods), but it might also prove to be a film that reminds moviegoers how scary that concept can actually be, when executed well.
The Woods opens in U.S. theaters on September 16th, 2016.