The Forest (1982) Movie Review

The Forest (1982) Movie Review
Review by Chris Wright

A few young teens camping in "The Forest" were looking for a weekend of fun but unfortunately crosses paths with a cannibal living in the woods but hey, at least he doesn't eat his people raw! Director Donald Jones, known for his B horror moves in the 70s and 80s, brings a low budget slasher merely known as "The Forest." This movie was released in 1982 and has similarities to other rare 80s movies such as "The Final Terror" and "Don't Go in to the Woods . . .Alone", which came out in the early 80s as well. A massive difference in this rare gem is it has added a strange supernatural element to it.

Prism Entertainment (which to me has one of the coolest logo openings of the 80s) released this movie in a large green Prism clamshell. Horror clamshells are more rare than most other out of print movies. The VHS is hard to come by. A company known as "Code Red" released a limited DVD of this movie in 2006 but it's also expensive and out of print. Recently this movie is available in a double exploitation cinema grindhouse style release along with "Don't Go in the Woods Alone" in 2009. The DVD releases do have some commentary and oddly are in widescreen.

The movie begins with many scenes in the forest and has pretty good soundtrack actually. We get action immediately as a random couple is hiking in the woods until the unseen killer arrives in their domain. As per all slashers, we know what happens next! The killer carries around a knife and kills them. The gore is not in your face as this is low budget but they give enough for you to know what just occurred with okay blood affects.

After a random kill of those two, the movie goes straight to the story itself. A bunch of teens in California who want to go camping in the woods but strangely want to do it at separate times, what? Anyhow, they decide to do it together and head off to the forest for some fun together. The two lady campers camp out at the lakeside area as the two men go on their merry way looking around. Unknown to them, two random kids pop up out of nowhere and interact with them . . .and disappear. What? Then an older lady pops up asking "Where are my kids, they need to be punished!" and of course vanishes herself. Profoundly, the two kids were going to warn them that "Daddy" (the killer is named this) is coming! They ignore the warning and of course Daddy trots his way from his cave to their surrounding. One of the girls takes leave in the woods. Of course Daddy sees the other one and attacks her with his knife. He proceeds to out power her and slits her neck open and drags her away. But not before he spots the other girl looking and goes after her only for her to fall down the stream and eventually lands on a bed of rocks as Daddy presumes she is dead.

We join our male campers as they notice it's raining and take shelter at the nearest locale, which happens to be a cave. It just happens to be Daddy's cave! They go in and find Daddy. He doesn't threaten them in any way. He just comes off as a socially awkward guy, who proceeds to tell them his life story. This is the best scene in the movie. Daddy tells the two campers why he is there. His wife, who acts very well in this flash back, basically cheated with everything that moved. He says that Daddy was impotent and couldn't please so she had sex with every man who walked in the house with no shame. The wife had locked the kids in the closet (had apparently abused them all their lives) and when she cussed him out that last time, he finally snapped and bashed her head on the table. He killed her instantly. He, then, proceeded to kill the last guy she slept with who was to repair the refrigerator. He succeeds and kills him fast. He takes the two kids to live with him in the forest. Sadly, the two kids catch a disease and they commit suicide. How we know this? They reveal they committed suicide much later in the movie as spirits. The two male campers leave the next morning.

At this point, they both leave and Daddy finds them afterward (why not kill them then?) and he kills one of them in the river. The most gruesome scene is him skinning one of the male campers with his mere knife, and other male camper has had his leg severely injured. The girl, who Daddy has not killed, makes friends with the spirits of the two dead children. They tell Daddy to not dare kill her or they will leave him. At this point, she makes every effort to kill Daddy and she succeeds! The dead children tell her they are now done and will find a new place to be. Of course the evil dead mother shows up and wants her children again. When told "no" she leaves again. The movie concludes with the two survivors leaving along with a last scene with the ghost of Daddy and the two children vanishing in the cave.

This movie appears very strange at times. I give credit for originality, good musical score, solid effort. It falls flat at times. I think it's better than "The Final Terror" when it comes to "woods slashers". I recommend for a watch. I give it 3.5 out of 5 stars. It tries. It may get better upon repeated viewings.

The Forest (1982)
Director: Donald M. Jones
Written By: Evan Jones

Starring Gary Kent(listed as Michael Brody) plays Daddy. Along with Dean Russell (Steve), John Batis (Charlie), Tomi Barrett listed as Elaine Warner as Sharon and Ann Wilkinson (Tedi) and the wife of "Daddy" is played by Jeanette Kelly.

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