Review: ‘Woodshock’ smokes too much of the funny stuff

Kirsten Dunst stars in this bizarre and impenetrable rumination on grief, loss and hallucinogenic weed

Adam Graham
The Detroit News

“Woodshock” is a rumination on sadness and loss that feels both profoundly personal and impenetrable.

Jack Kilmer and Kirsten Dunst star in “Woodshock.”

Kirsten Dunst is Theresa, who early on helps her terminally ill mother end her suffering with a hit of death-strained weed. She spends the rest of the movie in various mind-altering states, smoking hallucinogen-laced marijuana and wandering around her place in different states of undress. She gazes into mirrors and is unsure of what she sees. Same goes for the audience with this bizarre, deeply melancholy head trip.

Dunst, who played the perky cheerleader in “Bring It On” what seems like a lifetime ago, wears grief well. She’s almost blank here, carrying with her an incredible emotional burden that you can see illustrated in her downturned frown. She looks stricken with sadness, and she carries her character’s dramatic baggage with her throughout the film like a weight on her shoulders. She’s superb.

The mystery with “Woodshock” stays locked with fashion designers turned first-time filmmakers Kate and Laura Mulleavy, who give everything the hazy feel of a nearly forgotten dream. They have a knack for creating and sustaining a heavy mood, but that mood is overburdened by the questions that surround the narrative.

Theresa wanders out to the woods at night where she envisions herself ascending among the trees. Is this some sort of a “Twin Peaks” scenario? Theresa is working through loss and trying to make sense of her own brain while drifting farther into the abyss. Same goes for “Woodshock,” which could use a little grounding.


(313) 222-2284




Rated R for drug use, language and a scene of violence

Running time: 100 minutes