Tag Archives: James Bryan

Don’t Go in the Woods (1981)

don't go in the woods

By Richard Winters

My Rating: 0 out of 10

4-Word Review: Don’t watch this movie.

Excruciatingly bad on all levels this film could very well rank as the worst horror movie/slasher film of all time and given how many bad ones there are that is really saying something. The story, or what little there is of it, features four college-aged hikers, two men and two women, spending an idyllic weekend in the woods of a state park. Little do they know that a madman is on the loose and killing people at a frantic pace. When he catches up with them they run, scream, and then get sliced up.

The acting itself is the real horror. Usually even a real low budget film will at least have a few B-names in the cast whether they were famous at one time and now slumming, or an up-and-coming star, but this has neither. Most of the cast never appeared in another film and watching them perform here will tell you why. Of course having them straddled with stale, stilted dialogue that has no conversational quality doesn’t help and the proceedings would have been better off had director James Bryan allowed them to ad-lib.

The gory special effects are unimaginative and pathetic. It is edited in such a way that it is very hard to follow what exactly is happening to the victims and the majority of it basically entails gobs of red blood splattering everywhere and little else.

The killer is laughable and dressed in a Neanderthal getup that makes him look like a cross between a caveman and what a Minnesota Vikings fan wears to a football game. His cartoonish laugh is annoying and the isolated, decrepit cabin that he resides in seems too reminiscent to Jason’s hangout in Friday the 13th Part 2. There is also never any explanation, even at the very end, as to who the hell this guy is, how he got there, or where he is from.

This film also has one of the ugliest female casts of any horror film I have seen. Usually films of this genre cast a couple of Playboy Playmates or Penthouse Pets in the mix as eye candy to help liven things up during the slow parts, but this one instead has the two female leads with such short haircuts that they almost look like boys. There is also no nudity, which in this instance is probably a good thing.

Outside of a cheesy song played over the closing credits the film lacks any type of music score. In some ways like in I Spit on Your Grave this can help accentuate the cinema-vertite grittiness, but here it makes an already cheap production seem even cheaper. Some music could have helped cover-up the constant sound of birds cooing in the background, which eventually got annoying. The dialogue was also dubbed in during post production, which gives it even more of an amateurish quality.

The director of this one has absolutely no talent or ability. Your average fifth-grader could pump out something better than this.

My Rating: 0 out of 10

Released: September 1, 1981

Runtime: 1Hour 22Minutes

Rated R

Director: James Bryan

Studio: Seymour Borde and Associates

Available: DVD, YouTube