Subject: I have found a DVD that I think you would enjoy
Actors: Dean Russell, Don Jones, Gary Kent
Genres: Horror, Science Fiction & Fantasy
Two couples plan a trip into the forest to escape the hustle-n-bustle of everyday city life. But there's a crazed killer on the loose with a taste for human flesh! When the men get separated from the women, it's every man... more »
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"There's nothing out there...it's just your imagination."
cookieman108 | Inside the jar... | 12/04/2006
(3 out of 5 stars)
"Code Red, an apparent imprint of Media Blasters, has released a somewhat interesting little curio in the `killer in the woods' genre titled The Forest (1982) aka Terror in the Forest. Produced, directed, and edited by Donald `Don' Jones (Schoolgirls in Chains, Deadly Sunday), the film features Dean Russell, Tomi Barrett (L.A. Bad), John Batis (Teenage Gang Debs), Ann Wilkinson (Boogeyman II), and Gary Kent (Schoolgirls in Chains). Also appearing is Jeanette Kelly, Corky Pigeon ("Silver Spoons"), Becki Burke, and Jones himself in a bit part as a forest ranger.
As the film begins we see a couple backpacking in the woods, accompanied by some really awful, homologous, synthetic type music found commonly throughout the early 1980s. It's apparent fairly early on they're being stalked, and even more so after they're separated and the man gets a bowie knife in the gut (that's a pain that will linger). Alas, his partner doesn't fair all that well either...so now we see two men, named Mike (Russell) and Charlie (Batis), driving on a freeway, somewhere around San Diego I'm guessing, talking about getting away from the hustle and bustle by going camping. Later that night they break the news to their wives Sharon (Barrett) and Teddi (Wilkinson)...Sharon's married to Mike and Teddi to Charlie...to which the women suggest they all go together, a proposal that elicits the following comment from Charlie...
"Listen honey, the only backpacking you ever did was in bed."
Now I'm not exactly sure what that meant (neither does anyone in the film, including Charlie himself, I suspect), but the women take it as a derogatory, chauvinistic remark and decide to go off camping themselves, if only to prove a point, with the men to catch up to them a bit later. The women leave the next day, and as it turns out, they end up in the same area as the couple seen at the beginning of the film (Teddi's wearing one of those rainbow vests, the kind you can only find nowadays in your finer thrift stores). Anyway, the men, suffering some car trouble, arrive much later than expected, and find themselves trying to make their way in the dark, arguing with each other the whole way, and Sharon and Teddi, who've already set up camp, are visited by the ghosts of a couple of children (seriously), the **cough, cough** spirits try to warn the women of children's father, who isn't a ghost, as it seems he lives in a nearby cave and hunts the woods for food (seems backpackers are not only good eating, but they're also in season). Pop shows up with a Rambo knife, some bad things happen, the men finally make the scene, and we eventually learn, through a unintentionally humorous flashback, why the man, whose name is John (Kent), does the awful things he does...
I learned quite a bit from this film, including, but not limited to, the following...
1. Backpacking sure does tend to make people irritable.
2. The backwoods in California seem to be crawling with obvious (i.e. bad) coyote and bobcat sound effects.
3. The most common question asked while backpacking seems to be "How much further?", which contradicts my belief that backpacking is more about the journey than the destination, but whatever...
4. Screechy, easily excited females don't make the best companions when there's a homicidal, cannibalistic, knife wielding killer on the prowl.
5. In the world of micro budget, independent films, scenes intended to take place during the middle of the night often appear to look as if they were shot during the day...apparently the moon shines with the brilliance of the sun, at least in California.
6. You'd think people would seriously freak when visited by a ghost in the woods but you'd be wrong.
7. Ghosts sure do have annoying, echo-like, over modulated voices.
8. If you're getting your groove on with a repairman while your husband's at work, just lock the children in the bedroom closet. They may get an earful, but at least you'll know where they're at and they won't see your infidelities.
9. If you took all the various, pointless, unnecessary mucking about in the woods sequences out of this movie you'd be left with a 20 minute film.
10. The DVD cover was much scarier than the actual film.
According to director Don Jones, he shot this modest film, whose musical score seems to have been inspired by the works of Chuck Mangione, in just under a couple of weeks, most of it financed by taking out a second mortgage on his house. You should probably know that while the performances are sorely lacking (for many this was their first, and only, feature) but even so, they didn't do all that badly, all things considered. The script sure doesn't do anyone any favors, but again, for the type of movie this was, I've seen a lot worse. There does seem an extensive amount of filler/padding throughout, as we're treated to various driving and hiking montages in between the handful of scenes that actually comprise the story. The bits with the ghosts added a unique, albeit goofy, element, perhaps in an attempt by the filmmakers to differentiate their movie from the slew of slasher films spewing forth in the early 1980s. There was some violence, along with some blood, but I just didn't find the movie all that scary. There was a definite gruesome aspect involved, tied to the whole cannibalism bit. The funniest part of the film for me was during the flashback, when we see what actually happened to the man that made him snap and turn into a cannibalistic hermit, preying on the occasional hiker. Anyway, we see the man coming home early from work one day, only to find his wife shagging the water heater repairman. Sensing a certain amount of awkwardness, the repairman gathers his things and leaves the room, only to proceed outside and begin fixing the water heater. Seems to me after being caught in bed with another man's wife, your services in terms or repairing whatever it is you were originally called in to repair wouldn't be appreciated, but perhaps good repairmen are difficult on find in California, I don't know. Either way the repairman seemed to sport a couple of rather large, round steel ones, if you get my drift.
The picture, presented in widescreen anamorphic (1.85:1), looks decent enough as there are some noticeable flaws at the beginning of the film, but they appear to lessen greatly as the film progresses. As far as the audio, available in Dolby Digital mono, it comes through decent enough, although there were a couple of points where it seemed to waver slightly. As far as extras, there are two audio commentary tracks (one with the director and actor Gary Kent, and a second with the director and the director of photography). Also included is a still gallery, cast and crew interviews, a promotional trailer for the film, and trailers for films such as Don't Go into the Woods (1982), Jules Verne's Fabulous Journey to the Center of the Earth (1976), Beyond the Door (1982), School Girls in Chains (1973), Devil Times Five (1974), Sweet Sixteen (1983) aka Sweet 16, and Secrets of Sweet Sixteen (1973).
Classic GrindHouse Flm
S. Smith | North Hollywood, CA United States | 07/16/2007
(4 out of 5 stars)
"The Forest is a classic Grid House from the 80's. Don Jones captures the atmosphere of the true independent film. Don't expect true horror as this screenplay is less than well written, but Jones delivers with beautiful shots and we get to see a very young Corky Pigeon (for those Silver Spoons fans) being introduced.
The story is true magic. Just go with it and see the reward of a grindhouse.
I thought it was fun and I'm glad it's a part of my DVD collection.
A slasher in the woods harum-scarum
Patrick W. Crabtree | Lucasville, OH USA | 12/17/2007
(4 out of 5 stars)
"I'll keep it brief. 4 stars for slasher fans (like me), 1 or 2 for regular, normal people.
The grungy-looking slasher guy here lives in a cave, waiting for some "doe meat", (young busty girl is his favorite flavor). He preys on backpackers and that's who he gets in this one.
I liked the locations a lot and the cinematography, which is why I gave it 4 stars instead of three. It's not the most imaginitive plot I've ever come across. I liked "Sleepaway Camp" much better.
It's no "Friday the 13th" either, but for slasher fans, it's sure worth watching. I've watched it several times myself."
0.5 STARS: "Well, I don't want to hurt you, but I'm starving
HorrorMan | The Marsten House | 11/29/2007
(1 out of 5 stars)
""The Forest" comes off as a typical slasher flick that takes place in the woods, but looks can be deceiving. Unfortunately, "The Forest" fancies itself as something more, something clever, but it ultimately falls flat on its face. The "slasher in the woods" or campfire slasher as I commonly refer to them is actually a subgenre of the slasher subgenre of the horror genre. Indeed, I was hoping for a standard slasher flick in the woods but, instead, I got a very weird low-budget (that was expected) slasher/ghost story, which was very poorly executed in almost every conceivable way.
Basically, "The Forest" is about a man who let's just say mysteriously lost his family. He has resorted to living in the woods and has become a cannibal. Sound good? Well, it's not. While the mother's initial entrance into the movie is a little surprising and perhaps eerie, the ghost scenes, for the most part, were done so pitifully (especially with the children) that the movie comes off as a complete joke. In fact, the ghost scenes involving the children become increasingly annoying and lame as they repeatedly make their generic appearance throughout the movie.
The kills, for the most part, are not that bad at all though, especially for a low-budget film. In fact, the kills and the forest setting in general are what keep this movie from getting a ZERO STAR rating. Perhaps the most glaring problem in this movie is with the acting, which is absolutely AWFUL, especially the actor who plays the villain or the killer. Consequently, much of the action in this film comes off as absolutely ridiculous. In particular, this so-called killer looks like the loud-mouth beer-guzzling redneck you would find at your local bowling alley late on a Friday night. He wears a baseball cap and a torn white t-shirt. He acts like any typical redneck would act, except that he speaks a lot better. Oh, I almost forgot that he kills people and eats them too, although there are some rednecks that apparently do that too. Alas, I digress. To be perfectly frank, I have met many more menacing rednecks in person, unfortunately. The rednecks in "Deliverance" are a lot more realistic and fearsome than this pansy.
The fact that the lackluster killer in this movie is not convincing or menacing in any way takes a lot away from the movie's effectiveness as a horror film. For the most part, a horror movie killer, especially a slasher villain, should have prowess or at least some mysterious or particularly sinister quality, and this killer is completely lacking in this respect. It is not that you have to be so strong or unstoppable like Jason or Michael Myers (although that helps and certainly has its place in horror), but just take a look at a not so physically gifted Norman Bates who makes up for his lack of stature in his psychosis, and the effect is that Norman is scary. However, this guy in "The Forest" is nothing of the kind. Simply put, he is a very undynamic and generic killer who fails to instill any horror in a sophisticated horror movie audience. Also, it really takes away from any horror that the movie tries to instill in the audience when the killer almost seems to be apologetic to his victims as he kills them. I mean, who the hell wrote this lousy script, Mr. Rogers???
In "The Forest", the killings take place almost like with the same amount of emotion as a minor car accident (this goes back to the horrible acting) as that is the mentality of the killer and victim alike, especially in one scene in particular where my title line comes in. It is like the villain is a man who rear ends you and there is a tiny dent in your bumper, and that is about the sense of urgency you get with these killings. Very strange dialogue and uneven scenes indicative of shoddy execustion cause lackluster action in this film, and the desired effect in the audience in completely unachievable. Therefore, the ultimate effect is that of a movie that is unintentionally comical in a bad sort of way. There is very little credible emotion from the characters, and because the acting is so bad, it is very difficult to take this movie seriously at all.
In short, "The Forest" is totally devoid of the ability to produce any scares, but in all honesty, it could be perceived as unintentionally funny because it is so horrible. Some people like those kinds of movies, but the problem for me is that I rarely find these types of movies to be funny, but rather stupid and annoying. Regardless of whether one might find it unintentionally funny or not, "The Forest" is still not worth buying or even renting in my opinion. I would stay away from this movie as it is a total disappointment to the "slasher in the woods" or campfire slasher subgenre of slasher flicks.
If you like campfire slashers or "slasher in the woods" (whatever you want to call 'em) like I do, I would recommend "The Burning", "Friday the 13th parts I-III", "Just Before Dawn" and "Madman" as great examples of great slasher flicks taking place in the woods or near a campsite. If I was limited to one word to describe "The Forest", it would simply be "lame". Make that one-half of a STAR rating for "The Forest".