How do you follow up a film like DON’T FUCK IN THE WOODS, something that even the title caused controversy? Well if you’re writer/director Shawn Burkett you start by by making a movie with a much safer title, BETSY, and replace the sleaze with a romantic subplot. Then deal in a bad ass werewolf, blood and boobs to create a horror film that doesn’t need controversy to succeed.
After a brutal attack Betsy (Kelci C. Magel MIDSUMMER’S NIGHTMARE 1&2) goes to stay with her friend Kayte (Marylee Osborne PRIMORDIAL, BABYSITTER MASSACRE) out in the country to recover. She meets and falls for Sam (Josh Miller PRIMORDIAL, APPLECART) the local game warden. Everything seems to be going fine, but as she recovers in one way, another effect of the attack begins to show, one that could have deadly consequences for everyone around her.
BETSY is in many ways the polar opposite of Burkett’s previous film. It has a strong plot and characters accentuated with blood and skin rather than just being a fun showcase for sex and gore. And it’s good to see he can make a more plot driven, serious film like this. He draws excellent performances from the small cast especially Magel who has to retain her humanity and audience sympathy while gradually becoming more and more animalistic as well as deliver several nude scenes vital to the plot without them looking exploitative. This seems like a stroke of luck for the production as I’ve read she was a last minute replacement for another actress. She defiantly has a good career ahead of her.
Effects wise BETSY’s ambitions do somewhat outstrip it’s budget, however this is remedied in part by having the transformations become gradually more complete as her condition worsens. Granted this means we don’t get to see a full transformation till the end, but the various incarnations are all well done. The final effect reminded me of an old grindhouse favorite WEREWOLF WOMAN, and yes, that is a good thing. However it is disappointing when characters talk about how torn apart a victim was and then we see a corpse with not so much damage. There are a couple of good gore scenes, but the disconnect between the descriptions and what we see hurts overall.
Gravitas Ventures/Cyfuno Ventures recently picked up the rights to DON’T FUCK IN THE WOODS, hopefully they’ll grab BETSY as well because it doesn’t deserve to be sitting on a shelf waiting to be seen, it deserves to be seen.