There isn't that much to say about "Don't Go in the Woods". It is basically the most uninspired slasher film I've seen, and that's saying something from a guy who has seen every sequel, prequel, remake, and knock-off, and who in particular loves early 80's slasher gold. This is fool's gold. So what makes this movie worse than flicks like "Madman", "The Burning", "Prom Night", "The Prowler", and "Graduation Day"?
For starters, "Don't Go in the Woods" has absolutely no originality to it. The movie is basically a complete knock-off of the previous year's "Just Before Dawn", only "Woods" has more characters and deaths but lacks the atmosphere, suspense, and twist of "Dawn". This film is absolutely amateur in its making. It has a great atmosphere to use and doesn't use it. It doesn't allow any room for character development. Rather than creating suspense it jumps right to the kill. There is simply no use of artistic film-making or creativity in this entire flick.
Earlier in the week I finally was able to see another infamous B-movie slasher, "Graduation Day", which I thought was missing something. Compared to "Woods", "Graduation Day" looks like a masterpiece. "Graduation Day", along with "Friday the 13th", "The Burning", "Madman", "The Prowler", "Happy Birthday to Me", "Prom Night", "Halloween", "A Nightmare on Elm Street", "House on Sorority Row", "Just Before Dawn", "My Bloody Valentine", and others may follow a simple formula but it knows how to make that formula entertaining. Those movies have a rhythm. "Don't Go in the Woods" has no rhythm, but seems more like a bunch of footage of random, annoying people we don't care about or like getting killed in uneventful ways.
Watching this movie felt like it was taking hours, even though it was only 85 minutes. So why would I continue watching "Don't Go in the Woods"? It is a movie from a time period that will never return. Movies like "Woods" will never be released again. This is a grindhouse picture - a low-budget, cheesy movie that played in limited cinemas and never went mainstream. It has earned a large cult fanbase over the past thirty years, and the title has become infamously famous for being a bad movie. For a horror fan, "Woods" is a sort of time capsule, a look back in time to when anyone could make a slasher movie as long as you had a camera. This time has come and gone, and has been forgotten about. For over twenty years, no one thought about "Woods", but the internet and DVD sales have helped bring it back.
The cult horror film "Don't Go in the Woods" is only a popular movie because it is so bad and at one point so unpopular. As a slasher film fan, I am glad to have seen it. The acting is atrocious, the writing is wretched, the effects and laughable, and the plot is absent. But with a few cool shots of the scenery, "Don't Go in the Woods" somehow can keep the audience's minds off its lack of substance. And does this movie really need any substance? That's a debatable question.
Definitely only a movie for hardcore slasher fans. Regular genre fans will most probably get bored and turn it off, and if you don't like horror movies or bad b-movies than steer clear and don't enter "the Woods".
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