Runtime: 83 minutes
Release Date: April 16, 2010
Director: Vincent D'Onofrio
"Don't Go in the Woods" opens with a group of friends driving down the highway. The group has their own rock band, and they decided to spend some time in the woods, getting back to their roots and creating new songs for their upcoming album. One of the young men bring a large bag of weed with him, which another throws on the side of the road, claiming that they don't need it.
Once they arrive, the same man gathers their cell phones and smashes them, letting his friends know that they shouldn't contact anyone during the weekend. Things start out slow, as the group finds the perfect camping spot and beds down for the weekend. Eventually, a group of girls turn up, invited by one of the men for the weekend. As they frolic around the campfire, creating new tunes, it quickly becomes clear that there is something in the woods that isn't happy to see them.
I was walking through Family Video a few months ago when a black and red case caught my eye. I did a quick read through of the plot and decided to add it to my mental list, as I already had several movies in hand. A few weeks later, I discovered that the film was on Netflix and planned to sit down and watch it with the boyfriend and roommate. Despite some truly bad reviews, I actually kind of dug this film.
There are some people who down the film because it's basically a horror musical. What's wrong with that? I would probably classify "Repo: The Genetic Opera" as a horror musical, and I love the hell out of that film. I still sometimes burst into song and then it takes me a few minutes to realize that I'm singing a song from a film that probably only ten percent of the world ever saw.
I will admit that "Don't Go in the Woods" has its slow points. There's only so much singing that you can take before you want to see someone get their head chopped off, and the film sometimes relies too much on singing and not enough on the horror elements. My roommate thought the singing was pretty atrocious and started rolling his eyes every time someone started, but I did the little head bob along with the music.
The main problem with "Don't Go in the Woods" is that it doesn't contain enough scares, blood, or gore. There are a few too many scenes where people go running through the woods or take a long walk for no real reason, and those scenes should feel spooky, but they tend to feel a little dull and boring. It's still a great first effort from Vincent D'Onofrio that proves he's just as good behind the camera as he is in front of the camera.