Don’t Go in the Woods(2010) Is No ‘Teddy Bears Picnic’
Vincent D’Onofrio, what have you done? You have fascinated us in so many roles, perhaps that of director could have been better researched. How we looked forward to your directorial debut, Don’t Go in the Woods, now available on DVD and on demand. It’s a musical, it’s horror, it’s a thriller—what more could we want? (I’ll answer that one in a moment.) Unlike The Rocky Horror Picture Show, Don’t Go in the Woods is not a comedy. Instead it is an 83-minute joke that isn’t worth the wait for the punch line. Strong words, I know, from a D’Onofrio fan.
Directors of good horror films know that the audience has already seen enough graphic violence, dripping organs, and soft-core sex, and scare us instead with the things we can’t see. Lucky audience, D’Onofrio also learned this before he wrote and directed Don’t Go in the Woods. Sadly, we are served too many cheap horror film clichés and meaningless scenes to consider it a good horror film, and it doesn’t combine the right elements to be considered a bad movie, in the sense of bad movies we love to watch. It’s more a mediocre film that we never want to see again.
A group of young men comprising a band go camping in the woods under the guidance of their leader Nick (Matt Sbeglia), an obsessive dictator with a heart ten sizes too small. Nick wanted them to get away from the distractions of city life and write songs—songs desperately needed to complete an album on which they are working. Being obsessive, Nick makes sure they will not be distracted by drugs, alcohol, or women by throwing their weed out the window, confiscating their booze, and destroying their cell phones. So we’ve got a group of young men (one of whom is blind), in an isolated location far from civilization, and no cell phones. To cap it off, Nick shares an eerie urban legend around the campfire.Continued on the next page