Don't Go In the Woods
Don't Go in the Woods is not a perfect film—far from it in fact. But no matter the lackluster character development, the mediocre at best acting, or even the unforgiving camera work, the film suffers for one major reason: misperception.
While the title and premise would suggest a true-to-form slasher flick, Vincent D'Onofrio's directorial debut is actually a horror/musical hybrid, leaning heavily towards the later. Instead of running for their lives, this gang of “musicians” opts to sing their way to safety...or in most cases, an early grave.
The story is outlined and shot in a way that leaves little unknown as you piece together the conflict and guess the killer not twenty minutes in. I actually doubted my original guess because it seemed so simple, so uncreative. To my dismay, I was right in my original hypothesis.
The cast is comprised of untrained singers, each of whom belts the notes out as if singing for a coffee shop filled to the brim with their closest friends. The chemistry is often off, relationships forced, and in the end I realized that I didn't care for a single one of their survivals. I more or less just wanted them to meet their end for my ears’ sake (though I do give credit to Sam Bisbee for some stellar lyrics).
I will credit Vincent D'Onofrio for tackling such an innovative project, and I will admit that the film does have its moments. Maybe with a higher budget and a more rounded cast the idea could work. But as it sits, Don't Go in the Woods is a misfire in its present state... a film that likely worked on the festival circuit but doesn't quite make it from the comfort of your own couch.