DVD Review: Don’t Go In The Woods

Vincent D’Onofrio is a pretty great actor. One of my favorite roles of his is still his cameo in Ed Wood as Orson Welles at the end (yeah, I know that’s not his voice). I think he might be a pretty good director, too. However, this film doesn’t really argue that point very well.

Don’t Go In The Woods tells the story of a band that decides to spend the weekend in the woods away from everyone and everything to work on their music, to try to right that song that is going to make them big. It took me about half the film to figure it out, but the band sounds like a really crappy Wilco or, maybe even Uncle Tupelo, they’ve got a very alt. country kind of thing going on. But really crappy, this is a point I must stress.

One of the guys gets really pissed off when the rest of the band isn’t taking this getaway seriously. His anger is compounded even more when a bunch of chicks crash the party, including for some reason a French exchange student (she even has a song about learning English! What?). The movie goes on like this for a while and at some point characters finally start to die, which ends up being the only saving grace of this film, because some of the death scenes are pretty cool.

None of the characters are very interesting so you can only cheer when they die, but mostly you’re cheering because something is actually happening in the film that isn’t the band arguing or sitting around the campfire singing a song.

Don’t Go In The Woods bills itself as a horror/musical, but it’s not really much of a musical. Yes, there are songs in it, but they’re no musical type songs, they’re just lame rock songs. Only when the girls sing does it start to actually sound like a musical.

The acting isn’t bad, it’s just flat. These guys are obviously musicians first and actors second. I commend D’Onofrio for going that route. I mean you never expect good acting in a low budget horror film anyway. And this is a very low budget film. D’Onofrio made it for $100,000 and shot it over twelve days. That’s pretty impressive and improved my perception of the film, but I still didn’t enjoy it.

There is a really ridiculous twist at the end that I’m not going to ruin for you, but it just kind of made me laugh and role my eyes. It’s certainly not the worst film I’ve ever seen, but I’d be hard pressed to recommend it and I know I’m never going to watch it again.

Don’t Go In The Woods is presented in a 16:9 widescreen format and 5.1 Dolby Digital surround sound. The film is actually well shot. It looks and sounds good if nothing else.

Interview with Vincent D’Onofrio: (4 min.) D’Onofrio talks about how the film came about and why he did it. This is what made me kind of want to like the film. Behind the Scenes: (7 min.) The cast and crew share their thoughts on being involved in the film. Not as interesting as the interview, but not bad either.

When I heard Vincent D’Onofrio directed a horror film I was really curious. After watching the special features I get why he made it. However, I just didn’t like Don’t Go In The Woods. I really didn’t like the music, which was a big part of the film. If you are someone who does like the movie, maybe you’ll find it way more entertaining than I did.

Tribeca Film presents Don’t Go In The Woods. Written by Joe Vinciguerra and Sam Bisbee. Story by Vincent D’Onofrio. Directed by: Vincent D’Onofrio. Starring: Matt Sbeglia, Bo Boddie, Jorgen Jorgensen and Soomin Lee. Running time: 83 min. Rating: Not Rated. Released: June, 16 2012.Available at Amazon.com.

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