Written by: Michael Den Boer on August 25th, 2009
Theatrical Release Dates: USA, 1982 (The Forest) USA, 1982 (Don’t go in the Woods)
Directors: Don Jones (The Forest), James Bryan
(Don’t go in the Woods)
Cast: Dean Russell, Don Jones, Gary Kent (The Forest), Jack McClelland, Mary Gail Artz, James P. Hayden, Angie Brown, Tom Drury (Don’t go in the Woods)
DVD released: May 26th, 2009
Approximate running times: 86 minutes (The Forest), 82 minutes (Don’t go in the Woods)
Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1 Anamorphic Widescreen (The Forest), 1.78:1 Anamorphic Widescreen (Don’t go in the Woods)
Sound: Dolby Digital Mono English
DVD Release: Code Red
Region Coding: Region 0 NTSC
Retail Price: $14.98
The premise for this film is simple madman kills other humans who he then eats. This film stretches it main plot point to the max over the course of what has to be eighty six of the most tedious minutes ever committed to celluloid. One thing that it does tight is the films opening in which tow campers are stalked and then murder in the woods. These scenes and murders are well done unlike the rest of the film. The film nearly stops dead in its tracks when we are introduced two a pair of couples who get into a fight because the men feel the women can’t go camping without them. This puts into motion the storyline of why these four people have decided too camping.
After the opening murders it is nearly an hour into the film before the victim is claimed and during the intervening moments we are subjected to some of the most god awful exposition in any film of this ilk. One thing that is enjoyable about the film is its cheesy score which included four so bad they are good early 1980’s pop ditties. To create music so diabolical and use it as the backdrop for a film in which nothing exciting occurs takes guts. If you are looking for great or even adequate performance from the cast look elsewhere. Don Jones direction is not as bad as the script and to his credit he does make good use of the films main location the forest. Ultimately The Forest is a forgettable slasher film that offers minimal gore and violence.
Don’t go in the Woods: Four campers meet a sadistic killer in the woods. The police start investigating what is going on in the woods when missing person’s reports start coming in. Will the four campers survive their excursion into the woods or will they all suffer the fate that befell all those who dared to go into the woods.
Writing a plot synopsis for this film is not as easy as it would appear to be. First off this film suffers from a serious case of turrets as the narrative lacks any structure and just when things look like they might make sense or be going somewhere they get even more bizarre. Even worse is how director James Bryan pads the films with endless nature shots and how he drags out the scene where the sheriff discovers and searches the killers’ home. The film feels a lot longer then its eighty two minutes length.
The films John Carpenter like score was composed by H. Kingsley Thurher. The films end title music is the best part of the film. If you are looking for acting look elsewhere and even the voice actors who where used for the films audio dubbing are equally horrible. The gore was not as bloody as I expected going into this film and the FX is downright laughable. This film was made during a time when just about any film like it instantly found an audience and now looking at it twenty five years later its flaws are more noticeable then ever. One thing that should be taken into account when watching this film is that it was shot for a mere $12,000 and that in of itself is an impressive feat. Overall Don’t Go in the Woods… Alone! is best enjoyed after downing a bottle of Wild Turkey.
Both films were original release don DVD by Code Red back in 2006. Audio video wise the only difference from their previous DVD releases is that, Don’t go into the Woods was original released in a 1.33:1 full frame aspect and for this release it is given a 1.78:1 anamorphic widescreen presentation. For more information on the audio and video presentation of these two films here are the reviews for their stand alone DVD releases, The Forest and Don’t go into the Wood’s. Also none of the extras included from the previous stand alone DVD release have been carried over for this double feature DVD release.
The main extra included with this release is an audio commentary with Jeff Dolniak, Kevin Moyer and David Hayes (Cinema Head Cheese Comedy Troupe), for the film The Forest. Fans of tongue and cheek humor are sure to thoroughly enjoy this audio commentary. Rounding out the extras for this release are trailers for Stunt Rock, The Unseen, Beyond the Door, I’m going to get you… Elliot Boy and Choke Canyon. Overall this release is more geared towards those who missed out on the exceptional stand alone DVD releases that each of these films had previously released.