Review: Don’t Go In The Woods

*Original post on

It was only a matter of time before someone made a horror movie about Conor Oberst and his Mystic Valley Band going into the woods to write an album, and getting stalked and slaughtered by some dude in a mask.

In case that didn’t translate, Don’t Go in the Woods is about a band of young hipsters on a weekend camping trip to help them focus on writing new songs that will score them their big break. But damn it all to hell when the booby brigade shows up with booze, hedonism, and soliloquies in tow – now your shit’s going to get stalked and killed by an ambiguously large dude in a black cape with a motive and tool designed to clobber.

I’m looking back at the notes I took during my viewing and I’d like to share them with you: “Are these guys a real band? – It’s been like 30 minutes and nobody has died. – Am I watching a horror movie? – Everybody sings, like on Glee, and I think it’s interesting. — Why did that guy chop up his shoe? – I can kind of sense an 80’s slasher influence here. – I don’t know anyone’s name, has anyone said their name? – One guy seriously hates cell phones. — I have no idea where this movie is going. – Either nobody else dies, or they’re all going to die at once. – How many other reviews already compare this to Glee? – The French girl is kind of freaking me out. — I think I should reheat my coffee.”

And that pretty much sums up my review.

No it doesn’t. I actually didn’t hate this terrible movie despite the scathing Rotten Tomatoes rating and my sarcasm. But it’s not because I thought it was a well-made movie [it’s not]. It’s because of the music – it’s fantastic.

And I know this is supposed to be a review for a ‘horror’ movie and not an album. But let’s not forget about the almighty role that a score can play [Halloween, Jaws].  I think Don’t Go in the Woods is on the verge of either revitalizing the horror musical, or perhaps inventing a new genre and I’m curious. The whole ‘singing my woes then getting clobbered’ thing works.

That said, take the music out and this is one awkward, confusing, and terrible movie worth a viewing none the less. [And email me if you’d like to sign my petition to get the films music composer, Sam Brisbee, to release an official soundtrack.]


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