The Devil's Complex — 2016

Hoia Baciu Forest Gives The Heebie-Jeebies In The Devil’s Complex

It is no secret that Romania is one of my favourite places on Earth. It is home to some of the best folklore and paranormal creatures, filling our nightmares with fright. Movies such as The Devil’s Complex are proof of that!

The Official Devil’s Complex Summary

Rachel Kusza and her team of filmmakers go missing while in a Transylvanian Forest. After searching for the film crew for two years, Rachel’s teacher finds a camera buried in the snow. — Google

Rachel and her team of filmmakers travel to Transylvania, Romania, to document the paranormal phenomena within Hoia Baciu Forest. — IMDb.

My Official Devil’s Complex Summary

Following the death of her teacher, a young director student, Rachel Kusza, seeks out Tom Steiner, a cameraman and Joe Gruber, a sound guy, to help her make a documentary. The project concerns strange paranormal phenomena in a specific area of the Romanian Hoia Baciu Forest during winter.

The trio relies on a guide known to have beaten his wife to death. His knowledge is all they have to find their way around the forest to make the documentary a reality. But as they see themselves walking deeper into the unusual forest, they come across pieces of their past that come back to haunt them. Little did they know they must have nothing to hide once in, or one never gets out.

A Lonely Crow Production — The Devil’s Complex — 2016

As a found footage horror movie, 2016 The Devil’s Complex is a strong contender in the genre with an original story to tell. The Devil’s Complex, also known as The Devil’s Forest, is a British movie filmed on location in Cluj-Napoca, Romania.

The Devil’s Complex is an indie horror movie from the Lonely Crow Production house and is quite underrated. Found footage has a bad reputation due to how easy it can be to make one, but it shouldn’t tarnish the potential of other movies. The Devil’s Complex is an original idea mixed with an old twist.

TRIGGERS/WARNING: Gore | Abuse | Murder | Anxiety | Mazeophobia | Claustrophobia | Blood | Hypothermia.

Romania Is The Perfect Place For A Found Footage

The Devil’s Complex isn’t reinventing the wheel with found footage filmed in a forest. Aspiring filmmakers, one young woman and two young men travelling to a possible demonic forest, we know how it goes! Of course, it’s logical to think about The Blair Witch Project, and so we should, because we are talking about the ‘mother of found footage’ movies in 1999.

Instead of a witch, we have strange encounters told by the locals, who, as a result, are afraid of the forest. We even see a resemblance with Rachel Kusza interviewing dwellers of the surrounding area about the forest. She even brings up the strange case of a little girl who got lost in the Hoia Baciu forest for years and came back just as young as she was when lost, yet the world outside the forest aged.

The movie isn’t a retelling of The Blair Witch Project but a twist on an old trick. While the trio needs a map to guide them through the topography of the woodland, we have a guide with a dark past, Mr. Dogaru, who has gone into the demonic forest many times. The trio only has a compass to help them.

Why someone would choose to film a documentary in the winter is fascinating to me. Winter is often a season that’s cast aside. Winter is underused in horror. It’s either too obvious for the plot or a missed opportunity. But this movie uses it and only brings the horror to another level.

How The Devil’s Complex Stands Out From Other Found Footage Movies

The Devil’s Complex movie is enjoyable due to how the forest works. Each person has to go through their own hell and haunt memories separately. The dread of not walking in circles and never reaching the edge of the forest is heavy on them, and winter only adds to it.

Rachel is the leader, and because it is her project, she pushes the two other guys to perform at their job until she’s confronted. Rachel is battling anxiety with medication, and it doesn’t go unnoticed. 

The Devil's Complex — 2016
The Devil’s Complex — 2016

She might come out as an overly severe young woman with a condescending attitude, but that is her coping mechanism, taking over to prevent an anxiety attack.

Having Rachel battle mental illness while going through a horrific experience is a good choice. It shows that horror movies are moving forward with the time and that you can be strong despite believing you aren’t.

How Paranoia Creeps On You In A Forest In Winter

Coming across dead bodies and Romanian warnings written on wood signs isn’t enough. The guide lost the trio in the woods. But he lost his mind first, too, and it scared the young trio who second-guessed their choice for a guide.

Also, none of them was fluent in Romanian and needed a translator. But the forest’s reputation limited their choices in a guide, and they ended up with a sketchy man. 

Despite following the compass to walk out, they constantly feel they are walking toward the centre and deeper. Something moved around corpses and hung them differently, giving them the impression of walking in circles and someone was after them.

Yes, reminiscent of The Blair Witch Project, but the goal is entirely different, and the outcome is too.

The Devil’s Complex Is Real And Based On A Romanian Legend

The legend that Rachel brings up is actually of true origin, and Romanian history also backed her pursuit of paranormal phenomena.

The Hoia Baciu forest bears the nickname of the ‘Bermuda Triangle of Romania.’ The forest was once a settlement dating back to 6500 BC, making it the oldest human settlement in Romania’s history. It is safe to assume many people died and somehow fled, since now it’s a forest.

Almost everyone exploring the woodlands has a story to tell about something strange happening while they hiked among the trees. 

Going with the Romanian legend surrounding the Hoia Baciu forest would be a hot spot for the paranormal. The forest alone is an attraction for sceptics and believers of the paranormal.

Famous Local Legends Of The Hoia Baciu Forest

A famous story also mentioned in the movie that locals tell visitors revolves around a shepherd and his flock of two hundred sheep. The farmer went into the forest but was never seen again, and neither did his flock. 

When people gathered to help find the shepherd and his sheep, there was no man or corpse, and neither were remains of an attack from wild animals or humans. It was as if the shepherd and his flock had vanished.

The Devil's Complex — 2016
The Devil’s Complex — 2016

However, the greatest legend is the one Rachel mentions in The Devil’s Complex. The story is about this young girl who went into the Hoia Baciu forest and disappeared for five years. 

When she finally returned home, everyone recognised her as the little girl who got lost in the woods because she never aged and wore the same clothing. When asked if she remembered what happened, the little girl didn’t even remember where she’s been or for how long.

My Overall Impression Of The Devil’s Complex

I highly recommend The Devil’s Complex for fans of Romania as either a country to film in horror movies or as said location as I am. It’s an indie movie that is underrated yet well-acted, scripted, and delivered. It is perfect for a found footage fan like myself.

Hoia-Baciu, Romania
Hoia-Baciu Forest, Romania

Because the legends are from locals but respected by the movie, I find it wonderful entertainment. There is no disrespect toward the Romanian location, legends, or people. The film is underrated. I am slightly biassed since I’m a fan of Romania and found footage, but it is a good story.

Please give it a watch and let me know what you think!

The OCD Vampire

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