A young band tired of playing cover songs ventures out into the woods for a little solidarity to create some meaningful songs to show the world who they really are. This is the concept behind the Vincent D’Onofrio directed film Don’t Go in the Woods (2010). Things start to go horribly wrong when the bands peace and quiet is disrupted by the sudden appearance of their girlfriends who begin to hinder their creativity but more devastating is the fact that a serial killer is bumping them off one by one.
This would all seem like your typical slasher film in the woods but the difference is that D’Onofrio (who also came up with the story for the film) has crafted a slasher and musical hybrid. Several of the band’s songs are performed in the film and several times a member of the cast will break out into song for no other reason other than they can (whether they are part of the band or not). This is an odd direction as it comes out of nowhere half way into the film. Another off putting thing about the film is the fact that there are no truly horrifying elements to the film until long after the halfway point. Up until then it’s simply a film about a band that practices in the woods and have their own problems between them which is not really all that interesting.
This film is a really slow burn of a film in which you may not get the direction that D’Onofrio is going for until both the musical aspects and slasher elements collide. Some of the most interesting moments of the film are the last third of the film but you have to get through the mush of a first half to get to the meat of the story. Some people may not want to wait for the film to ultimately pick up momentum but the last third of the film is actually really well done both in terms of story and execution.
Overall, D’Onofrio doesn’t do a completely horrible job with the film but his touches don’t seem to really come into play until the last third of the film but if you stick with the film you just might enjoy it.