“Folk horror” is a term of relatively recent vintage — or at least popularity — that only grows more broad as “Woodlands Dark and Days Bewitched” spends three and a quarter hours trying to define it. Still, a slippery thesis doesn’t detract from the pleasures of this documentary from genre scholar and programmer Kier-La Janisse
. She draws on alluring clips from more than 100 films, plus myriad interviews, to survey an alternately lurid and surreal cinematic (as well as television) field of mostly rural tales inspired by traditional superstitions and lore.
for a long time to come. Production company Severin Films
, itself a leading restorer and home-formats distributor of vintage cult movies, should find a ready-made audience in its own customer base—which Janisse’s film will no doubt help expand.
Beyond the director herself, the various authorities heard from here (just a couple in archival interviews) include veteran and next-generation filmmakers,