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Classic Movie Review: 'Don't Go in the Woods' Alone

Don't Go in the Woods... Alone is a very silly, very bad movie that doesn't deserve to be remembered.

By Sean PatrickPublished 19 days ago 3 min read

Don't Go in the Woods (1981)

Directed by James Bryan

Written by Garth Eliassen

Starring Jack McClelland, Mary Gail Artz, Tom Drury

Release Date November 21st, 1981

Published June 5th, 2024

Don't Go in the Woods... alone is the classic on the I Hate Critics Movie Review Podcast dropping on June 5th. It was chosen by my c0-host, Jeff Lassiter, a horror movie expert. I mention Jeff because I need you, dear reader, to know that I would never want to watch and write about a movie this bad, Jeff is making me do this because this is part of how we promote the podcast. Blame Jeff.

Don't Go in the Woods... alone is a 1981 slasher movie about a crazed maniac in the wood who kills anyone in his path. He's crazy and he's super strong and can strike like a ninja despite being a clearly 300 pound man who probably smells like the underside of a dumpster. This is a movie that asks us to believe that a man wearing animal skins, beads on his head, and who is monstrous in size, has the stealth of a cat at night. This is one of many failures of basic comprehension of reality that Don't Go in the Woods... alone, gets wrong.

There is no story to this movie. There are human beings playing characters though to call what they are doing 'acting' would be a stretch. It's something more akin to someone reading a film script out loud for the first time and not really understanding or comprehending it. Ostensibly, we have four campers who seem to have no connection to each other despite being on a camping trip together. Context clues, I guess, tell us that they are friends, but their dimwitted interactions say they don't actually know each other.

For reasons, these four people are allowed to be in the movie and wander in the woods unheeded until it's their turn to be victimized. Meanwhile, they remain oblivious to the comical number of bodies dropping in the woods around them as the maniacal mountain man kills whoever he sees with no appearance of motivation, unless they are the four campers. The fact that the maniac kills without motivation is, I guess, intended to make him scarier, but it doesn't work. The film is so poorly crafted in editing and general filmmaking technique that he could have had a backstory and we'd never know it through the sheer incompetence of the director and crew.

Jeff chose this movie, and I want to be clear: JEFF LASSITER from the I Hate Critics Movie Review Podcast, chose this movie to pair with the new Canadian horror slasher movie, In a Violent Nature. Where that film is a remarkable deconstruction of the slasher genre that features some of the most horrific violent gore since the Terrifier movies, Don't Go in the Woods... alone, is violently incompetent. There is a legend around Don't Go in the Woods... alone, that the movie was intended to be funny but I assure you, that is not the case.

Rather, in the vein of the great Tommy Wiseau who pivoted years ago to say that his legendary bad movie, The Room, was intended to be funny and wasn't merely the result of incompetence and narcissism, the makers of Don't Go in the Woods... alone make the same claim. In n effort to seem less foolish, misguided and inept they claim that the films flaws are actually comic strengths. I don't believe them for a moment. Why? Because the movie speaks for itself. Things that might have been intended as funny, simply aren't funny. The mistakes, errors, and poor technique are not an Andy Kaufman level of trolling but instead, simply the result of people who tried to make a slasher movie and failed miserably.

Find my archive of more than 20 years and more than 2000 movie reviews at SeanattheMovies.blogspot.com. Find my modern review archive on my Vocal Profile, linked here. Follow me on Twitter at PodcastSean. Follow the archive blog on Twitter at SeanattheMovies. Listen to me talk about movies on the I Hate Critics Movie Review podcast. If you have enjoyed what you have read, consider subscribing to my writing on Vocal. If you'd like to support my writing, you can do so by making a monthly pledge or by leaving a one time tip. Thanks!

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About the Creator

Sean Patrick

Hello, my name is Sean Patrick He/Him, and I am a film critic and podcast host for the I Hate Critics Movie Review Podcast I am a voting member of the Critics Choice Association, the group behind the annual Critics Choice Awards.

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