Don’t Go In the Woods… Alone! (1981, Review)

dontgoinwoodsdvdDirector: James Bryan

Writer: Garth Eliassen

Cast: Jack McClelland, Mary Gail Artz, James P. Hayden, Angie Brown, Ken Carter, David Barth, Tom Drury

Code Red DVD / NTSC Region 0 / Full Frame (1.33:1) / 83 min. / PURCHASE FROM DIABOLIKDVD.COM

Ah, the early ’80s, the hey-day of the American slasher flick. Close cousin of the Italian giallo. Violence, gore and teenage nudity were the staples and the setting usually camp or a nice secluded rural area. Kids happily tromping around, getting high, having sex and getting killed by a (usually) masked or unseen murderer. The Friday the 13th franchise, The Burning, Sleepaway Camp and so-on and so-forth. We all know and love them. Not terribly original but usually fun in some way and something about each one sets them apart. This is not the case with Don’t Go In the Woods… Alone!.

The story follows a group of young people who are out for a weekend of backpacking and camping. Unknown to them, people in those woods have begun disappearing and the local police (complete with the fatty fat fat Sheriff) are hot on the case. One by one the kids, as well as some typical unknown murder fodder, get hacked and slashed by a crazy machete (and caveman-style spear) wielding forest dweller.

As you can see, the story is like most other ’80s slashers and that’s OK. The problem is that nothing about the characters or the killer was interesting. There was no… bite. Nothing to keep my interest. Friday the 13thSleepaway Camp had a really creepy girl, Angela, an unknown killer and a WTF ending that you will never forget. DGItWA didn’t have anything like that. had an indestructible man-monster and before that, his completely psycho mother.

It was too typical. I didn’t like the kids, the killer was booooriiiing and the silly music was distracting. The back of the DVD says that it was intended to be a comedy but that failed worse than the try at horror. I have no idea what writer Garth Eliassen was thinking. The DVD cover has a “WARNING” label on it informing us of its “graphic violence”. The back tells us stories of how it was banned in the U.K. and how it “squeaked by with an ‘R’ rating” in the U.S. The Burning was much more violent and bloody and did it so much better.

As far as the Code Red DVD goes, the picture was above average sporting the original 1.33:1 aspect ratio. If you are like me, own a 16×9 TV and want the whole screen to be filled, the “zoom” feature cuts off a lot of excess at the top and bottom and frames the movie nicely. I did have a problem with the audio; it sucked. It was very uneven and I continually had to turn the volume up and down. It was very annoying to say the least. Pick this disk up only if you are a die-hard ’80s slasher fan and/or are curious.

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About Greg Baty

Greg is a lifelong genre film fan who digs boobs and blood. He is a student of genre films, watching as many as possible while still being married and reading reference books like novels. His favorite genres are Eurosleaze, American slashers and Exploitation of just about any kind. Prior to this website Greg ran a blog called The Playground Movie Reviews and is now the webmaster, Editor in Chief and Head Writer for Cinesploitation.

3 thoughts on “Don’t Go In the Woods… Alone! (1981, Review)

  1. I caught this on Netflix Instant Watch a few months ago. I turned it off a quarter of the way in, I didn’t want to invest anymore time into it. Your review makes me glad I didn’t waste my time.

  2. I was also largely bored by this one, but the “bear trap on a rope” death was pretty awesome, it has to be said.

    I think the main problem is that most of the victims are not the main characters in the movie–just some folks who show up walking the trails expressly to be killed. No emotional investment. The Bleeding (www.bleedingskull.com) Skull, whose opinions I usually share, finds a lot to like in this one, but I just didn’t see it, at least on first viewing.

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