NNWIJ: Don’t Go Into The Woods (2012)

Director: Vincent D’Onofrio

Notable Cast: Matt Sbeglia, Jorgen Jorgensen, Soomin Lee, Casey Smith

Rating: R

Review:  Well we certainly don’t get a plethora of musical slashers films (or smasher films as I should call this one), but actor Vincent D’Onofrio has decided to give it a whirl.  Filmed on his own woodland property in Woodstock, NY, the D’Onofrio scripted/Sam Bisbee scored Don’t Go Into The Woods awaited my viewing until the free option on Netflix became available, and for good reason.  With a cast of unknowns and a sledgehammer wielding stalker, there’s not much to love about the tongue in cheek self aware musicians who foolishly ignore the title of their own movie.

Following a band on the verge of signing their first record deal, group leader Nick (Sbeglia) convinces his mates a secluded trip into a quiet wooded area will provide the tranquility proper song writing takes.  Just when the band thinks they’re alone though, their devout groupies show up to party with the band.  Nick becomes furious with the time being wasted, but quickly learns those are the least of his worries.  As groupies start missing one by one, everyone starts to realize they may not be the only ones out in the woods, foreshadowing a quick end for Nick’s poor band.

What killed a lot of momentum for me surrounded out-of-place musical numbers and overly self-aware lyrics, stealing any mystery and suspense D’Onofrio could have established.  I’m sorry, but you lose me when victims are crawling away from the killer, singing perfectly while in excruciating pain.

D’Onofrio does manage to muster the atmosphere of a cheesy 80s slasher, but never actually does anything with it.  There is absolutely no terror to be found as our killer – aka dude in a trench coat with black spandex to cover his face – did most of his damage off screen, and would just jump into scenes and jump out seconds later.  There was absolutely no horror to be found, leaving nothing but a bloody sing along played out by inexperienced actors.  Hope you like acoustic indie alt-rock!

While a valiant effort at something different, D’Onofrio was focused more on the music than making something truly horror worthy.  While some of the songs were catchy enough to entertain, the overusing of self-aware hints became somewhat of a chore, failing to excite via any medium.

Next time I go camping, I think I’ll be leaving the old six string at home.

Netflix Rating: 2/5

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About Matt Donato

I love all things film. I'll watch any genre, any actor, at any time. This whole film critic thing is a passionate hobby for now which I'm balancing with working in the business world, but hey, someday, who knows?
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