Tuesday, 17 January 2012

Review : Don't Go in the Woods (2010)


Vincent D'Onofrio (story), Sam Bisbee (screenplay), and 1 more credit »
A young band heads to the woods in order to focus on writing new songs. Hoping to emerge with new music that will score them their big break, they instead find themselves in the middle of a nightmare beyond comprehension.

When I finally shuffle off this mortal coil and make my inevitable descent into Lucifer's Grill-house, I won't be facing any surprises. I already know whats waiting for me down there....

Religious zealots, (yeah, your going down, too), Musicals and Emo music, on endless repeat, forever.....

Each and any of these curses would be terrible enough, so I can only imagine the sheer unrelenting horror that awaits my sinning soul, as I spend untold endless days drinking weak-ass tea with insufferably bland ass-clowns, only to find that the only source of entertainment I'll get to share with these blowhards is the dreaded 'Musical'. In my mind, there has never been a more nonsensical form of cinema than the musical. I just can't fathom the fucking things. Now, arguably, OH BROTHER, WHERE ART THOU? could be called a musical, but I'm not having it. To me, that's like saying RAY or WALK THE LINE are musicals, they ain't.

A musical, to me, is one of those insufferable films in which you (occasionally) find yourself caught up in the story, only to have the cast burst into fucking song for no sane reason, (often about doing the dishes, growing stronger, a broken heart, the circle of life, or some other silly shit that ruins the flow of the narrative and bores me to goddamn tears); I hate the damn things.

And don't get me started on 'Emo's. A bland, vapid name for a bland vapid generational 'movement' that make me wanna throw up all over my Coco-Pops. Past generations have had anti-war movements, anti-fascist movements, revolutions and wars in the sacred name of freedom. What does this 'movement' believe in? Half arsed, no-balls music, hair colouring, and feeling sorry for themselves before they've even come close to facing down some of life's true evils. They're the most self-serving group of youths yet to be created by mainstream media and MTV. No cares, no cause, no fight. And if I sound like a grumpy old bastard, that's because I am a grumpy old bastard. I may have a bad back and not be able to get it hard 23 hours of the day, but I still care about freedom, god-dammit!

Now, with all this in mind, imagine my dismay as I sat on my ageing ass to experience the joys of DON'T GO IN THE WOODS. A film, that's basic premise, is to take the much loved slasher sub-genre and turn it into an EMO MUSICAL. Yeah, you fucking read that right, friendo's. God help us all.

I had no idea of this, of course, before watching the damn thing. I figured I was dealing with yet another low-budget slasher that may be great, may be terrible. I like to give them all a try. All these independent directors out there deserve our attention, at least to some degree, but this fucking thing....!

The film opens with some singing, but at this point, my penis had yet to shrivel up completely, as many slashers start the same way....a group of kids in a car, playing guitar and chilling out. It's as familiar as fake tits in slow motion. This is a slasher, so I expect this. Hell, I even feel comforted by it. Then the cast start talking......

I ain't gonna bash these guys too much, as I've since learnt that they aren't, in fact, actors, but were chosen for their musical ability. Seems a weird choice to me, but okay, 'I'll give them the benefit of the doubt', says I. Sorry guys, but this just wasn't working. There is zero chemistry, (and this is supposed to be a band we're dealing with here), and practically every line is delivered dead in the water. These lad's are never convincing in any way, shape or form. Sure they can sing, play guitar and 'emote' for the camera, music-video style, but I frankly don't give a rats ass. If I wanna hear some dire emo music, I'll go to a 'Bullet for my Valentine' gig. This is supposed to me a movie.

Also, the pacing is way off from the get-go. We learn a little of who these douche-bags are as they wander through the woods for ten minutes, and that's fine. I can handle the severely dodgy acting, as long as we get to the good stuff some time soon. Alas, the film then spends untold amounts of time having these guys sit around campfires, singing self-obsessed songs that will cause the inner-ear mechanism to bleed profusely in almost all listeners. Sometime, seemingly days later in real-time, their girlfriends show up, and some bland drama unfolds in between the 'songs', as the lead singer complains about the band not having time to make music, if they spend all their time getting high and partying in the woods with hot ladies, (what kind of lead singer is this, I ask?)

When the slasher elements finally arrive, and believe me its a long, long wait, they're handled almost as an afterthought, with zero panache, the bare minimum of gore, and a killer that's as obvious and unmemorable as he is unoriginal. This 'twist' has been done to death a thousand times and more. Its no longer clever, at all.

I was surprised to learn this whole endeavour was put together by Vincent D'Onofrio. I've enjoyed some of his work as an actor, most notable his section 8 nut-job in FULL METAL JACKET, but he shows no real signs of prowess behind the camera here. To be fair though, with a script this shitty and a cast who are essentially little more than an unsigned emo band, jamming onscreen for what feels like a fucking eternityy, he really didn't stand too much of a chance. The film goes nowhere worth going, is as shallow as it is devoid of tension and style, and will probably serve only as a curio on D'Onofrio's otherwise successful and impressive career.

Other than some well handled camerawork, and some really pleasant locations that are easy on the eyeball, I really can't find anything positive to say about this nightmare. Thats not to say that all will hate it with the fury that I myself do. I'm sure some will find some merit in the songs, I just can't imagine who would want to sit through it for the songs alone. If you listen to this sort of music, you already have your record collection, why waste time watching these clowns argueing in the woods between songs?

Perhaps also of some merit is the bare bones concept, (not the singing), of a look at a band attempting to create art when in the cusp of youth. It's a wild time to be alive, and a hard thing for an artist to fight through, torn as they are between hedonism, and capturing the fire that such hedonism fuels. To quote Spacemen 3 : Taking Drugs To Make Music, To Take Drugs To....someone should look at this concept in a serious manner. But honestly, that's all I got.

If this is my perfect hell, and I believe it to be so. I may have to apologise profusely to all and sundry, especially Jesus, Allah, Buddha, Krishna, Thor and Batman. I want to repent! Please, whichever one of you who has a heart....grant me eternal peace. I want psychedelic music, agnostics and Horror movies that have real heart, power and presence. Oh, and no fucking musicals!

Slasher fans.....this isn't a slasher movie. It isn't a backwoods movie. It's barely a movie.

Musical fans..... I may hate the damn sub-genre, but I understand how it works, and I respect those who do it well, and who enjoy it. This isn't a real musical. No emotional crescendo's to be found here, folks. Its band-practise in the woods.

Emo's....I got nothing to say to you. Just back away from me, man...

0 Emotional Content out of 10


  1. okay, so far this is the second review i've read about this flick and I'm starting to doubt whether I should listen to my noggin that kept yelling "WATCH THE DAMN THING! YOU'LL NEVER KNOW!"

  2. Life is FAR too short, Kaijinu. Enter with extreme caution...

    1. seen it and partially loved it. Gave if 2 out of 5 stars...