Wicked Wednesday: Don’t Go in the Woods… Alone! (1981)


dontgo

This is the second week in a row that I’ve watched a Utah-set horror movie. No, I am not starting Wicked Utah Wednesday (it just doesn’t have a ring to it), but this was just purely accidental.

Most of the popularity of this film probably hangs on two things: the first being that this was a UK Video Nasty, and the second being the fact that this poster is so damn cool. What would be betterdont than wearing sweet shades and getting hacked to death? That’s going out in style, at least.

The movie is weird. Really weird. In the first five minutes alone, the film establishes the bad, almost dub-like audio that will carry out through the film and it has two murders (or well, at least someone drowning in a puddle and a guy getting his fake arm chopped off).

One of our four main characters is pretty wilderness savvy and he has several rules for his idiot friends to follow. First, don’t panic. Second, go up – not down. Third, never, never go in the woods alone. Fourth, it’s seven minutes in and I’m praying for this movie to hurry up already (which is really saying something for a movie that begins with a double murder, but still – pacing, people!). Anyway, this guy is really annoying, whoever he is, and no amount of killing off random people  in a woods will make that any easier to handle.

The group of kids are hiking to find a cabin. This in horror language, is always a certain sign of survival and safety. I mean – death, gore and certain doom. But since they’re not really going to have personalities other than “likes outdoors” and “doesn’t like outdoors”, a pair of idiot cups are introduced.

There are so many characters in this film, I’m questioning that this is supposed to take place in a woods and not some suburban high school. The number of random couples that get killed off in this film is too damn high. And I suppose this is why the BBFC had a problem with it, but the deaths are so… bland it doesn’t really make sense.

For example, one couple with a woman who’s not really “in the mood” when she sees something in the night. Her man Dick (seriously) runs off into the night and is killed off screen. Their love van is then pushed down a hill. I assume it crashes, but the film just cuts to a van that looks like it has been on fire for a while, with the woman screaming from off camera.

But thus proceeds the movie. On and on and on. At this point, I’m not really sure if there’s a plot other than: kids walk, randoms get knocked off, stupid joke about inexperienced campers.

Though I guess one of the group, Peter, decides to do in the woods alone (despite the title telling him not to). Shockingly he doesn’t go back and spends the night by himself. So he can only be:

a. dead
b. a jump scare

Thankfully this little move actually leads somewhere. While the other three play in the river (and their friend is watching them?), a random fisherman gets knocked off BUT we do get to see the killer, which is a weird cross of caveman and Davy Crockett. Since the kids are too busy being silly or whatever, the don’t hear the mans screams or notice his corpse…? Well, kids are stupid anyway.

Finally, some of the main group starts getting killed off. But since the audience spends so little time with them, they might as well be just another one of the randoms getting killed.  Actually, so many of the main male actors look exactly the same, so I’m starting to doubt who’s getting killed off here. But Peter and Ingrid (thank God they keep shouting each others names) reunite and head to the caveman’s cabin, where they find a booby-trapped home filled with corpses.

The pair manage to escape the man and find the town, but one of their friends still remains out in the woods. Peter, like  the idiot Peter is, runs off into the woods to save her, despite the fact that there’s a search party being set up for her, the woods are massive and she gets killed off in the next scene anyway.

The last twenty or so minutes of the movie is the search party. I don’t know why so many filmmakers think search parties are interesting. They’re not. Plus Ingrid decides to run off to find Peter. I feel like this is all really counter-productive. Normally, I won’t share the ending of this movie, but Peter and Ingrid pound the crap out of the caveman infront of the search part. This reminds me of the baby-skin-pounding scene in The Witch, so I like this ending. I guess.

In the spirit of Bill Rebane, this movie really enjoys wasting time by having people meander around the woods instead of having an actual plot or, I dunno, having characters with personality. It certainly has a high body count, even if most of the death scenes are the sounds of someone getting their toe stubbed.

Is Don’t Go in the Woods so bad its good? Meh. I don’t think there’s much about this film that makes it noteworthy other than the cover art and it being a video nasty, I guess. Most of the plot is so poorly paced and jumbled around its just nonsensical. And not really in a fun way. At least this was filmed in the mountains, and some of the shots are actually quite beautiful.

dontwood

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