If you have ever heard the name Harlon Coben in your life, you are most likely to have come across two stellar shows on Netflix written by him – Safe and The Stranger. Those two mini-series set high standards for thrillers and made them audiences realize the potential of telling a solid story within eight episodes, making them wait for more. In comes The Woods, which takes its base out of Britain straight to Warsaw in Poland, where we meet another set of messed up characters. But this time, the end product is messed up as well.
What’s the story about?
The Woods follows Pawel (Grzegorz Damiecki), a prosecutor who’s working on a delicate rape case. More strain comes looking for him when a dead body surfaces in his surroundings, and he is called in as he could be related to it. This takes us to a story of four individuals which took place in 1994, where four friends went missing after a bonfire in the woods. With one of them being Pawel’s sister, the mystery behind her disappearance and the fact whether she could still be alive comes back in the run.
Unlike the two aforementioned shows, The Woods does not manage to engage the viewer right from the word go. With the Polish setting being a little tough to adapt to, it takes time to get connected with the characters, who all are played by different actors in their younger and older selves. However, the series plods along at a snail’s pace, making us ask for more speed and interesting incidents in the proceedings. The Woods does demand a lot of your attention at first, but the sad part is how it cannot pay off well when we devote ourselves to it. Though the final two episodes do reveal the actual story behind the crime in an interesting way, it’s normal to get the feeling that six hours have gone by without much fun.
Grzegorz Damiecki in the lead does a neat job, even though he has just a handful of expressions to carry until the very last episode. The actors who play the younger characters stand taller than the rest in the frame, with the present side of the story carrying very little interest.
Music and other Departments
The Woods has excellent cinematography to complement the proceedings, but sadly – what’s missing here is a chilling score which was the backbone of the platform’s last equivalent ‘The Stranger’.
The setting of the series is the biggest plus, with a mention to Grzegorz Damiecki who is fairly good.
The pacing of the show and the placement of twists are some things which could have been way better.
Did I enjoy it?
No. I could not enjoy it at all, but for parts of the final 2 episodes.
Do I recommend it?
Watchable, but be aware that this isn't great stuff. You might want to get your hands on the novel, which is a better option.