One slasher from 1981 was Don’t Go in the Woods… Alone directed by James Bryan who took his shot in trying to create a different experience. Did the film succeed? Well, to be honest, no. The film is just your typical slasher which follows a group of four teenagers who decided to go hiking in the woods one weekend. There is a deranged mountain man that is going around picking them off one-by-one. Now, you are probably thinking to yourself, “How does a slasher sustain itself with only four characters?” It is with this question that the film starts to go haywire as we jump from our four main characters to a bunch of strange and bizarre people who are also camping in the woods. These people really have no importance to the story, they are only there to be picked off by the killer and boost the body count. This in itself isn’t typically a bad thing because we are given what we paid to see, but it hurts the overall power of the killer. I have to say though the way these pointless characters are slashed off is pretty brutal with some unique kills and awesome effects. This is definitely the high point of the film as we are treated with blood galore practically spraying out of these dumb-founded characters. If you don’t care about narrative, and only like blood and guts then this film is for you.
This brings me to the weakest part of the film; the narrative. There really isn’t any story here. We don’t learn the backstory of who the killer is, and why he is doing these horrific acts. If there is one aspect of a slasher narrative that needs to be there is the killer’s mindset, and that is missing from Don’t Go in the Woods…Alone. It really hurts the film because it doesn’t show clear motive, and we never get inside of the killers head. It is just slash, scream, slash, scream and repeat. It gets to be a chore after a while because there isn’t a clear-cut story to follow.
Is the film one of the better slashers from 1981? No, not even close, but it sets out to be its own over-the-top blood fest. If there is one way to view this film though it would have to be the new release from Vinegar Syndrome who once again does a fantastic job. Make sure you read my thoughts on the overall picture quality and features below because there is a boatload of extras!
Overall, Don’t Go in the Woods… Alone is what it sets out to be; a cash-in. If you have a few buddies pop the film in and enjoy a few beers. I am positive the entertainment level that you will riff from your buddies will make the film better than what it really is.
The new transfer from Vinegar Syndrome is truly amazing! They really made the film look modern with bright and vibrant colors that often pops off the screen. It isn’t the greatest looking film out there, but Vinegar Syndrome makes the film look the best it will ever look. Do we rarely see grain, and when we do it is a problem that has to do with the negative. I really appreciate how Vinegar Syndrome cleans up these obscure films. If you guys/gals read my review on Nightmare Weekend that I posted a little while ago then you know how great of job they do!
There is a boatload of features here on the disc that makes the package even better! They are included below:
- A commentary with Director James Bryan
- Commentary with James Bryan, Mary Gail Arts & others
- Commentary with The Hysteria Continues
- Cast& Crew Featurette (60 minutes)
- Autograph Signing Party Featurette (30 minutes)
- TV Promo Compilation (15 minutes)
- Theatrical Trailer
- Production Still Gallery
- Press & Art Gallery
- Script Gallery