Film Fest Finds: ‘Deep Woods’

Two longtime friends head to Wisconsin’s Northwoods for pheasant season – but the hunters become the hunted in this locally-produced thriller.


Ah, there’s nothing quite like golden hour in Wisconsin’s Northwoods – especially if you’re being chased by an asthmatic gunman and a drone. The allure of the forest’s fall colors masterfully captured in this feature film could almost trick you into thinking the gunshot wound and long-term trauma were worth the trip Up North for our protagonist. 

Deep Woods was the latest locally-produced feature to take the screen at the Milwaukee Film Festival. It’s a suspense thriller brought to you by local director and screenwriter Steve Laughlin and producer Jeffrey Kurz. And the love for Wisconsin definitely shows in shots that show off Milwaukee’s streets and skyline, an authentic Up North dive bar and our stunning wilderness. 

The casting was exceptional too, showcasing a diverse group of local talents who all give believable performances and have exceptional hair – especially the two leads played by Eddie Spears and Juilon VanOver. 

The best scenes made use of the screenwriting adage “show, don’t tell,” with  thrilling chases that demonstrate Laughlin’s skills as a director. And the plot will keep you on the edge of your seat right until the end when …. 

Deep Woods is part of the Cream City Cinema series at the 2022 Milwaukee Film Festival. You can see it playing again on Wednesday, May 4 at 7:30 p.m. at the Times Cinema. For more information go to Milwaukee Film Festival’s website



Alli Watters is the digital and culture editor at Milwaukee Magazine. That means that in addition to running this website, she covers art, entertainment, style, home and more for the magazine. It also means she doesn't sleep much.