24th Feb2015

‘Don’t Go In the Woods’ Blu-ray Review (88 Films)

by Paul Metcalf

Stars: Jack McClelland, Mary Gail Artz, James P. Hayden, Angie Brown, Ken Carter, David Barth, Larry Roupe, Amy Martell, Tom Drury, Laura Trefts, Alma Ramos, Carolyn Braza, Frank Millen, McCormick Dalten, McCormick Dalten, Cecilia Fannon | Written by Garth Eliassen | Directed by James Bryan


Sometimes horror films rely one one thing…and that is gore, but there are certain criteria that must be met to make it more than just another forgettable b-movie.  There has to be a setting, a storyline and some kind of reason that at least keep the movie coherent for the fans.  This is why Don’t Go In the Woods fails for me.

The fact that the movie was placed on the “Video Nasty” list in the UK is enough to catch my interest, but now in our more enlightened times when we get to see it uncut I can’t help but understand why the censors felt the need to take action in the first place.  Don’t get me wrong, I hate censorship but if you base the decision on what was acceptable when the film was released in the eighties? Well Don’t Go In the Woods is a film that held itself up as an example as a movie that used gore for gore’s sake.  No wonder it felt the wrath of being named as a video nasty.

The anarchic film geek side of me enjoys many elements of Don’t Go In the Woods …Alone! (to give the film it’s full VHS-box title), and this is why I watched it more than once and added a commentary track to get some of the insights of the people who made it, and yes…that did help.  The fact is Don’t Go In the Woods is an experiment of taking horror to its most basic elements, taking anonymous people in the woods and allowing some none descript “wild man” kill them with whatever weapons he designed.  Some of his victims survive and in “gung-ho” moments decide to re-enter his environment to bring wrath to him and thus you have a reason to find an ending to all the chaos.

The fact is it comes as no surprise that some may mention this as one of the worst movies ever made, but I tend to treat a moniker like that as something of a trophy.  There are people out there that watch this movie and champion certain elements that we see, and to be honest I can respect that.  The fact is Don’t Go In the Woods  is a movie about people that are stupid enough to go into the wild and make themselves into a victim and have a killer ready and waiting to slay them.  Should we care about them? No…but we don’t care about the killer either and that is probably the biggest weakness the film has.

When 88 Films release “Slasher Classics” such as Don’t Go In the Woods there is the risk that they are picking some lame ducks, this is arguably one of them.  There is a certain charm about the film and it is watchable, but it is a bad movie and there is no way to hide that fact.  The commentary included shows that the film has a cult fan base and I totally love that fact, but as a horror film and a “video nasty” this may be a nice little oddity that is easily forgotten, and that is pretty much it.

Don’t Go In the Woods is available on Blu-ray in the UK now from 88 Films.

Review originally posted on PissedOffGeek

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