Someone sure knows how to have a good time. If you want to have a good time, avoid Don’t Go in the Woods.
Say hello to Nick, despotic band douche, who dragged his friends and emo-hipster bandmates out to BFE to record new songs for a demo in the quest for a record deal. Nick’s all about the concentration. No drugs. No drama. No distractions. No discussion about his decision to smash everyone’s cell phones with the axe he borrowed from the creepy hunting shack. It’s always a good idea to ditch all comms gear after ignoring an ominous sign telling you not to go in the woods, right?
So, of course, Nick is thrilled when his ex-girlfriend shows up with a load of groupies, drugs and booze — cell phones too. He tried to ward off temptation but temptation came to the band. You’d think Nick would be thrilled; not getting what he wants should be the perfect inspiration for the brooding, angsty whining music he makes.
It’s never a good sign when someone stats telling the Algonquian legend of the wendigo whilst sitting around the campfire. Imagine that, the van won’t start. One by one, the partygoers fall by the wayside, although not as fast as one might like.
Stream of consciousness whilst watching:
“So, uh, when do they start dying?”
“Seriously, are they dying soon?”
“OK, now they’re dying.”
“C’mon, they’re not dying fast enough.”
“Finally, they’re dead! Shit, there’s still one left! Damn it, that’s the one I wanted to see die the whole time.”
This Tribeca fodder is acclaimed actor Vincent D’Onofrio’s directorial debut — he also wrote the story. It’s not your standard slasher; think more of a musical horror movie, like Eddie and the Cruisers II meets [insert campy flick where people die in the woods]. Imagine if the victims at Camp Crystal Lake had weak facial hair and were struggling with musical mediocrity. Deep inside, you expect a little more from the guy who starred in such disturbing fare as Full Metal Jacket and The Cell.
Don’t Go in the Woods a little heavy on the melancholy music and light on the murderous mania. Then again, perhaps all the emo warbling is just to make the deaths more satisfying. Lot’s of buildup, little payoff. Story-wise, the movie’s a muddling of horror standards — and not in the good way. The artsy-ness may be lost on some, and it’s probably a bit too meta for the hipsters. Don’t Go in the Woods. feels a lot longer than the announced 83 minutes but you stick it out in the hopes of seeing these guys die bloody. In the end, it isn’t even worth it.