Review: Don’t Go into the Woods


Ha, I am willing to bet those guys back in the 1980s are running the day they ever conspired against those 50 movies, the so called ‘Video Nasties’. Whilst I’ve no doubt the battle was won at the time, and certain films lost money because of the culling of movies from rental shop shelves and cinema, they must see now that the war was lost as a result.

That brazen act of ‘big brother’ conservativism has simply immortalised those movies they sought to keep from us, and for some, which would have almost certainly been lost to the ether, had persisted decade after decade on reputation alone.

James Bryan’s ‘Don’t go into the woods’ is one such movie. Reviews at the time hated it, and it has since been regarded as the worst slasher movie ever! Whilst I am not proud to say that I have seen worse, you can certainly see why the title is to some extent worthy of this tagline. If there was ever an example for any art connoisseur to completely disregard the entire slasher genre as puerile and talentless sludge this is simply it. Now you know me by now surely, I love slasher movies, like I’m borderline obsessed, but still this one really pushes the boundaries of what could really be considered a film – as opposed to a montage of random scenes sandwiched between blood spraying kill scenes.

Yes the plot is not the strong point of this movie, and can completely be summed up in a single sentence. There is a crazed killer running around with a machete on the end of a large stick killing tourists at random, and without reason. Literally, that. The killing fields of this movie are the mountain forests of presumably a national park, and without the need for prejudice this killer is offing anyone in the vicinity – which thankfully for us is a surprising number of people. Random groups too, tourists, campers and even a disabled person who is tackling the great outdoors – completely alone of course. There is little coherency between any of the deaths although the film does focus most on a set of 4 campers, there story is told periodically as we switch through several nights and days whilst another group of randomers get offed!

Yeah ok, you get the point by now, and the last thing this movie needs is another review rambling on about its technical inadequacies – editing which is choppy at crucial moments, and missing from the end of elongated scenes and so on -  so let me take the movies critique into formally unchartered territories: the good points.
It is actually quite watchable. For the love of god don’t make this the only movie you watch in the evening, but as a B-Movie, it does the job. Many reviewers talk about pacing being an issue, but personally I have sat through far more nothing that this movie allows you to do (no that’s not a complement). The main reason for this is the fairly substantial amounts of death sequences throughout its run time. As you might expect, most are pretty bland – simple stabbings coupled with gushes of bright red paint, but there are some pretty gruesome ones in there as well. There is the infamous bear-trap scene and a number of others which I will let you enjoy. The effects are as inconsistent as every other aspect of the movie, but what the hell, it’s enjoyable to watch none the less.

And that’s pretty much it. Some funny scenes here and there are amusing enough, but predominantly just a good dozen or so kill sequences.

Overall this is quite simply the thresh-hold of what can be recommended. Its massive saving feature is that is doesn’t actually try to be anything other than a camp slasher movie made on a shoestring budget. It has some really amusing scenes and I’ve no doubt even the actors had a laugh making it, it’s the kind of film you just simply take at face value – pure entertainment and nothing else. 88 Films have included it as number 03 of their ‘Slasher’ collection, and it deserves to be remembered if nothing else than to remind us not to take the genre too seriously. The disc transfer is great, with only a few blemishes here and there from the source, and it’s completely uncut too which another bonus. As I’ve said, I can recommend this movie, but only to those of you looking to have some fun with what is undoubtedly one of the best worst movies you will ever see!

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