The Forest

November 6th, 2008 by Perfesser Deviant

The Forest   forest poster 83x120 reviews horror Director: Donald M. Jones
Writer
: Evan Jones
Release Year
: 1982

Family problems cause cannibalism.

Steve (Dean Russell) and Charlie (John Batis) decide to go camping. Not wanting to be left out, the guys’ significant others Sharon (Tomi Barrett) and Teddi (Ann Wilkinson) decide that they were already going camping as well. Unfortunately their chosen campground is within the territory of professional cannibal John (Gary Kent)….

 

(Spoilers follow..)

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Leaving aside the lackluster violence and total absence of nudity, this film is most concerned with relationships. Steve and Charlie each feel that their relationships are on the skids and so decide that a camping trip for the boys might be a good idea to recharge. The ladies have a different idea and, for some inexplicable reason, decide to take their own trip. I find it odd that the women would not recognize that the men are trying to do something for themselves and give the ladies some time on their own as well. The men don’t seem too upset about the development, maybe reasoning it will be a bit romantic. Regardless, the whole set-up for the story does not make a lot of sense.

In many ways, a bad relationship is what led John to become a psychotic murdering cannibal. Those of you who have been married understand how this is possible. John’s whore of a wife (Jeanette Kelly) is having sex with The Forest   the forest 1 300x168 reviews horror a repairman (Tony Gee) when John comes home. She does not seem to have a problem with this, nor with the fact that she has locked their kids in the closet while she trysts with her boyfriend. John reacts badly to all of this and smashes her head against the corner of a nightstand. John then tracks down the repairman and kills him on the third try (more on this later). Then John flees with the two kids off into the woods, but they die, leaving him alone. Sort of alone … if you don’t count the ghosts of his family.

The supernatural elements of this film make it substantially different from the usual. The two ghost children, John Jr. (Corky Pigeon) and Jennifer (Becki Burke), don’t share their father’s murderous habits. Actually, the two kids committed suicide (?!) and now haunt their father to avoid their abusive mother who is also a ghost (?!). The ghost children appear to their father’s victims to help them out when the children discover that their father’s prey does not wish to die. These kids have apparent respect for people’s righThe Forest   the forest 2 300x168 reviews horror t to kill themselves by choice, but they are not so keen on people being killed by force. They are clearly ghostly libertarians.

Since this film has very few positives to recommend it, all that is left to fill the void are heaps and heaps of stupidity. The first stupid thing is the men not really arguing with the women about them going off into the wilderness alone when one has no experience and the other has very little. The women expected them to catch up, but things do go wrong (like the car trouble in this film) and so, stupid thing number two, they should have camped near the road and waited for the rest of their party. More stupidity follows, from splitting up to one of the men injuring himself while RUNNING along difficult terrain (and he is the experienced one!). The big stupidity in a film like this is that the authorities have not noticed a bunch of people gone missing in these woods and The Forest   the forest 3 300x168 reviews horror searched them thoroughly. Any organized search would find the cave and from there the resident cannibal, but who watches horror films for their clever and realistic plots?

 

There is one scene that is so amazingly stupid that it needs further elaboration: John killing the repairman. John tries to kill the repairman with a knife, but the repairman fends him off with a tool, a toolbox, a chair and finally his fists. His mighty repair-fists proves too much for John, and the repairman runs as John lies on the ground, but somehow John gets in front of him. The fight continues, with John armed with a rusty hand saw and the repairman fighting back with a handy stick. The repairman bests John with his magic stick and again runs like hell, but John gets in front of him again. Now, John has found a rusty pitchfork, but the repairman pulls a handy bike frame from the nearby brush and fights back, again knocking John the to ground. Never one to let being knocked to the ground stop him from getting in front of his opponent, John again sets himself in the path of the repairman and finally slays him with a rusty circular saw! This scene is so over-the-top that it plays like a less realistic combination of professional wrestling and Warner Brothers cartoons. Still, Jason Voorhees seems to have learned the same trick later on.

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The only real positive that this amateur film has going for it is that it is a breath of fresh (albeit goofy) air for those used to typical 80s slashers. Unlike the teen slashers inspired by Friday the 13th and Halloween, this one featured adults and was more of a throwback to Deliverance. Because of its more serious model, the film featured a killer with a back story that made a sort of sense (well, sort of) who logically goes about his business killing those who he needs for food. The characters also have a reason to hang around as the surviving woman is trapped and the two men don’t wish to leave their significant others alone, and probably in danger, in the woods. For this reason alone, the film stands head and shoulders above others of its ilk, but all of that quality is undone by the lack of on-screen violence or, really, much of anything.

 


Rating: The Forest   star reviews horror The Forest   star reviews horror The Forest   blankstar reviews horror The Forest   blankstar reviews horror The Forest   blankstar reviews horror

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