The Barrens (film)

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The Barrens
Home video release poster
Directed by Darren Lynn Bousman
Produced by Darren Lynn Bousman
Richard Saperstein
Brian Witten
Screenplay by Darren Lynn Bousman
Starring Stephen Moyer
Mia Kirshner
Allie MacDonald
Shawn Ashmore
Music by Bobby Johnston
Cinematography Joseph White
Edited by Erin Deck
The Genre Company
Distributed by Anchor Bay Entertainment
Release dates
  • September 28, 2012 (2012-09-28)
Running time
94 min
Country United States
Language English

The Barrens is a 2012 American horror film written and directed by Darren Lynn Bousman and starring Stephen Moyer and Mia Kirshner.[1]

The film was released under different titles in several European territories: e.g. as Jersey Devil in the German-speaking countries and as The Forest in France and Belgium. In the UK the film was shown on The Horror Channel in January 2015 as Devil in the Woods.


The movie starts off with two young campers walking together through the woods, taking note of how no animals or birds are around at all. They discover a pile of mutilated deer bodies that have been dismembered and laid into a pile on the trail. They are then chased by a mutilated deer, before it drops dead in front of them. Something sounding like a large swarm of birds is heard heading for them, the screen goes black.

Richard Vineyard and his wife Cynthia, as well as his daughter Sadie and young son Danny, are shown leaving their suburban home to go on a camping trip; they wish to remove themselves from civilization and bond together on their camping trip in the Barrens, a forest in southern New Jersey. On the way to the campsite, they notice a mutilated deer crossing the road. Upon arrival at the Barrens, the Vineyard family stays in a campsite that is crowded and inundated with phones, loud music, and obnoxious fellow campers. While setting up his tent, Richard has a flashback to a traumatic event from his childhood that occurred in the Barrens. Later that evening, when a fellow camper explains the origins of the Jersey Devil (the bastard offspring of the Devil), the campers pull a prank that scares the Vineyard family. Richard overreacts and is irate, much to the embarrassment and dismay of the rest of the Vineyard family.

Later that night, Richard has a nightmare where he is being chased through a field by an unknown creature. He is awakened in the middle of the forest, as he had literally run from his tent and was stopped by his wife. He then proceeds to jealously accuse his wife of cheating on him, who responds by reassuring him of her love for him. Richard apologizes and, as his wife goes back to bed, he goes for a walk where he witnesses a deer carcass fall from a tree.

The next morning we discover that Richard has a previous wound from before they left their house that he is taking pills for, and that Cynthia is a stepmother to the Vineyard children. It is also revealed that one of the campers involved in the prank the previous night has gone missing, and that the hikers from earlier in the story were found dead the previous week. Richard, who appears physically weak, leads his family deeper into the forest to a new camp site, away from all the other people at the main sight.

While stopping to rest, the son Danny notices the disemboweled body of the missing camper, but says nothing. Richard begins hallucinating and being short with his family. They stumble upon a campsite where they notice a deteriorating dog corpse, hanging furs, but no people. They decide to set up camp there. Richard Vineyard goes to dispose of the dog’s body, where he discovers that one of the campers, Ryan, who has a crush on Sadie, has been following them when Sadie called him. Richard reveals he saw the Jersey Devil as a child, and it begins to rain.

Richard returns to the campsite, where he becomes aggressive towards his family when he tries to take away Sadie's cell phone, and his wife tells him they are going home when it stops raining. It is revealed that Richard killed the family dog, before they left, after it bit him. That night, Sadie goes in search of Ryan, when she is scared by something in the woods that has his phone. It is revealed that when the dog bit Richard, it had rabies. Richard’s mental state deteriorates.

On the next morning, Richard sleep-walks again, and awakens with his sanity barely intact as he finds himself surrounded in the mist when the Jersey Devil appears behind him. They leave immediately, but Danny and Richard disappear. While calling the police, Cynthia and Sadie stumble upon the disemboweled body of Ryan with Richard’s knife next to the body. They find Danny face-down in the river and resuscitate him. Richard reappears and has a seizure. He then attacks Cynthia, breaking her leg. Richard is knocked unconscious by Sadie, and tied up. Sadie and Danny run to find help, leaving an injured Cynthia near the hysterical Richard.

While waiting for police to find them, Richard becomes more hysterical and breaks free, Cynthia passes out from trying to fix her own leg, and Richard sees the Jersey Devil appear. Sadie and Danny are found by a hunter after it kills a mountain lion, the police find the bodies of the campers, and Cynthia knocks out Richard with a rock. When Richard comes to, Cynthia is attacked by something off screen. The hunter and the kids stumble upon Richard, and then a bleeding Cynthia. A fight ensues in which the hunter is knocked out and Cynthia and the kids escape. As the police corner the Vineyards, Richard corners his family with a loaded gun and notices the Jersey Devil behind his family. The rest of his family notice it as well, horrified. Richard attempts to shoot it, but is shot by the Sheriff, missing his shot. The Jersey Devil then kills the Sheriff then swoops in to finish off the Vineyard family.

Post ending[edit]

After the credits scene at the ending, it is shown that both Sadie and Danny had survived and are at the police station with the Officer repeatedly asking Sadie on what happened in the forest but no one believes her because of her saying that the Jersey Devil is responsible. So she decides to go with Bob and other hunters to avenge her parent's deaths and to hunt the Jersey Devil in the winter in the Pine Barrens.



Bousman penned the script shortly after finishing Saw II.[2]

Bousman originally intended to shoot the film in the actual Pine Barrens of New Jersey, but filming eventually took place in the Toronto, Ontario area for budgetary reasons with the cast and crew mainly staying in the town of Caledon.[3] Three different forests were used for the woods.

The film was planned to be shot in 20 days. However, two days were lost due to severe rainfall. As some of the actors and crew members had other commitments immediately following after, it had to be filmed in 18 days instead. All the daylight scenes at the campsite were filmed on a single day.

Home media[edit]

The Barrens was released on Blu-ray, DVD, and digital download on October 9, 2012. Included on the Blu-ray and DVD releases is an audio commentary with director Darren Lynn Bousman and cinematographer Joseph White, as well as a deleted scene which serves as an alternative ending. In this ending, it is revealed that Sadie and Danny survived the attack with the Jersey Devil. As winter sets, Sadie, Ranger Bob, and several others set into the barrens, armed to the teeth, ready to hunt the Jersey Devil. Director Bousman considers this ending to not be canon, joking that those scenes will be "saved for the sequel".


  1. ^ SNEIDER, JEFF (Sep 15, 2011). "'True Blood's Stephen Moyer takes on Jersey Devil". VanityFair. Retrieved September 21, 2011. 
  2. ^ Stephen Moyer Off To The Barrens Empire Online
  3. ^ Sneak A Peek At True Blood's Stephen Moyer In The Barrens Cinema Blend

External links[edit]