review for Don't Go in the Woods on AllMovie

Don't Go in the Woods (1981)
by Fred Beldin review

This splatter hack-job was forged during the slasher Gold Rush of the early 80s, and though it's inept enough to inspire guffaws for those who find ineptness amusing, there's nothing to recommend for connoisseurs of horror. Like the films it was emulating, Don't Go In The Woods is top-heavy with anonymous victims, though in some cases these poor unfortunates aren't even introduced before we see them being ripped open with machetes or catching a bear trap in the face. This casual attitude towards coherency lends the first half of the film a boneheaded energy that can't be sustained; after two characters reach the police and a posse is formed, the proceedings become tedious and the outcome is fairly obvious. As played by Tom Drury, the killer comes off like a cross between Gunnar Hansen and the violent family members of The Hills Have Eyes, though the ridiculous belly laugh that punctuates his crimes ruins any hint of menace. The gore is clumsy and a pointless attempt at a twist ending involving a kidnapped child and a hatchet isn't unsettling and doesn't make sense. Still, anyone with the stomach to try Don't Go In The Woods should sit through the entire show just to enjoy the very dumb ditty that accompanies the closing credits. This goofy theme song (along with the awkward grammar of the film's title) is proof that no one involved with this slasher mistake took any of it seriously, and spent as little time as possible to slap it all together.