Thursday, September 6, 2012

Don't Go In The Woods - Band On The Run

What in the hell did I just watch?  On one hand, I want to completely rip this movie to shreds for all of it's ridiculousness.  On the other hand, there is an interesting concept behind this mess of celluloid.  Guess I'll just dive right in and we'll see what happens!

Okay, the beginning of every week, I sit down with my DVR and I search out movies to watch in the coming week.  This past week was pretty slow for genre fare, but I came across this title and the synopsis read:  A band goes into the woods to write songs and is stalked by a well dressed killer.  Sounds like an 80's throwback movie, right?  I'm envisioning something like Rock & Roll Nightmare meets American Psycho.  Yeah, Patrick Bateman chopping up musicians in the woods!  I can get behind that!  

So, at this point I'm excited to see this bad monkey.  Then I hit the play button.  It was all downhill from there.  The movie opens with some bizarre country/gospel music behind "played" by a bunch of Emo lookin' dudes driving down the road in a van.  I put play in quotation marks because on the soundtrack you hear a clearly pre-recorded and pretty complete music track.  In the van, there's a guy with an acoustic guitar, a guy banging his drumsticks on the seat and another one has melodica!    Clearly the instruments present can't produce the music we're hearing.

Emo Groupies.   Oh Yay.

 This brings us to my first major problem with this flick.  All of the music is PAINFULLY pre-recorded.  So much to the point that it's extremely distracting.  Now, I understand that this is a movie and there is a need to pre-record the music to get the sound right....but being that these guys are supposed to be sitting around the woods with their acoustic guitars (and a snare drum) it gets a bit ridiculous when all of a sudden one of the guys has a base guitar with a tiny amp.  Tiny.  Like the size of a GameCube.  Remember GameCube?  Nintendo's little box of fun?  I loved the GameCube. Anyway, where was I?  Right, the bass guitar with the tiny amp....and then all of a sudden a keyboard that is clearly not plugged into anything is sitting on a stump.  What the hell?   The thing sounds like it's running through a PA system!  Arggh!

The fellas are apparently going out to the woods because they want to be more than just the entertainment at the local bars.  Nick (Matt Sbeglia) comes across as the leader of the band.  He wants the band to spend a distraction free weekend in the woods writing new music so they can release an album.  Now, I say that he appears to be the Frontman because he seems to call all the shots and the other's do as he says.  Nick says no drugs and when Johnny (Soomin Lee) breaks out the pot in the van, Nick tosses it out the window.  Nick said "No phones" so when he discovers that everyone brought their phones he makes them turn them in to him.  Then he smashes them with an axe.  WHAT THE HELL?????  Dude, I'll tell you what.....some asshole breaks me phone with an axe, we gonna have some words!  

It's Jack the Renaissance Sledgehammer Killer!  RUUUUN!

To be perfectly honest with you, I don't remember who was who when it came to the band members...there was a Carlos, Robbie.....and some other dude....but I don't know which was which.  I tried to look it up on Imdb, but apparently this was the first film for all of these guys.  So there's not even a photo available of them.  Ah well, I tried.  That's the important thing.  I cared enough to at least give it a shot.  Aw, fuck it, who am I kidding?  They all look the same....bunch of Emo wierdos.  Except for the dude who's blind.  Yeah.  The base player guy is blind.  Why the hell would you bring a blind guy out into the woods to write music?  I could be wrong but that sounds WAY counter-productive!

Oh hell, I went of on another tangent, didn't I?  The point I was trying to make a couple of paragraphs back there is that while it appears that Nick is the Frontman of the band and all his bullying and pushing the other guys around and shouting "We need to write new music!" and generally being a friggin prick, the other guys do the majority of the singing and playing.  Not to mention that the other guys have better voices than he does.  He sounds like a frog being drowned in an acid bath.  It is literally painful to listen to this guy "sing".  

Oh Dear God, please make it stop!  

Now having said that, the songs are actually not that bad.  They're fairly melodic and not too rough on the ears.  Even though it was poorly dubbed and lip synced, I found the music to be the best part of the film.....even though it is what ultimately causes to movie to fail.  

The entire first hour of the film is these guys singing their songs around the campfire (or Nick occasionally huffing off with his guitar and sitting by himself playing the same damn song over and over and sounding like he's gargling kitty litter mixed with hot sauce) with a quick double murder interspersed.  The killer is a dude that looks like a Cosplay mash-up of Jack the Ripper and a generic renaissance fair reject carrying around a sledgehammer.  You know, that sounds far cooler than it really is.....and it doesn't even sound remotely cool.  

Now according to my DVR, Don't Go In The Woods runs 86 minutes.  66 minutes in and there have only been the two murders way back toward the beginning.  Then all of a sudden everyone gets slaughtered in the middle of the day. They're not creative in any way shape or form.....they're just rapid fire sledgehammer murders.  

I'm going to spoil the ending of the movie here.....for two reasons:

1.)  I don't want you to have to suffer through this turd.
2.)  The ending of the movie is so ridiculous and convoluted I might have it wrong and this isn't a spoiler.  It could be just the way I interpreted events.

Tell me this dude doesn't look like Frodo on crack.  Seriously!
So you've been warned.  Avast ye mateys.....spoilers lie ahead.  Okay.  So, we got the rapid fire sledgehammer murders going on.  The final girl is of course Nick's girlfriend....or ex-girlfriend....whatever.  Anyway....they're running away from Jack the Renaissance Sledghammer Killer (known for the rest of this explaination as JRSK) and suddenly Nick stops.  He still has his guitar.  He yells at his girlfriend to turn on his digital recorder and starts to strum away with an intense Emo look on his face.  She's like all "What's wrong with you?" then screams "Oh My God!" about 12 times before running off without him.  Well, wouldn't you know it?  JRSK catches up with her and starts to mess her up.  Then she starts to sing the song that Nick started to play when he told her to turn on the recorder....even though JRSK was after them.  Then JRSK starts to listen to the recorder.  Then Nick is standing there with blood on him.  Then he hits JRSK with the sledgehammer.  Then he jumps in the river and swims to his girlfriend.  Then he gets out of the water and walks over her, holding the digital recorder and listening to his frog mating call song thing that he made.  CUT TO:  A record producer's office.  The producer is telling Nick that his album is gonna be big.  We see an album cover (ANAL BUM COVER!   SEAN CONNERY FTW!  SUCK IT TREBEK!)  and it's titled Don't Go in The Woods.  Oh.  So clever.  Then the producer tells Nick that getting rid of his band and going solo is the best thing he ever did.  Fin.  

So.....what I took from this is that Nick was actually the JRSK guy...but he wasn't dressing was the personification of his psychotic tendencies.  Or some such psycho-bable bullshit.  I don't know.  

Remember way back in the beginning when I said that there was an interesting concept her?  Well, watching this mess, it kept trying to switch between the Emo band playing songs around the fire and then it would switch to people out in the woods singing like they were in a musical.....full musical arrangement and dancing included.  Had they gone at this as a straight out horror musical, then maybe it would have worked....but the movie couldn't decide what it wanted to be.  Combine that with the a pretty empty script (that makes NO sense to begin with) and you get 86 minutes of some not bad music tacked onto an incredibly weak slasher flick.  This is truly a Midnite film....because no matter what time you watch it, you're gonna feel like it's the middle of the night!