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Review: The Forest (1982)

Reviewer: Daniel Perry


So it’s 1985 and I’m going through the video rentals on a Friday night. There among all the horror movies is one titled The Forest. Again, I decide not to rent it. I always skipped over this title at the video store and never would lay eyes upon it until 2007 when I picked it up cheap off of Ebay.

The Forest (1982) is an interesting mix of slasher and supernatural. The story is about two couples that hike into the forest on a camping trip. A cave dwelling, cannibalistic woodsmen and the ghosts of his dead wife and two children soon terrorize them. Huh? What’s that you say? Yes…ghosts! There is something you don’t see every slasher. Director Don Jones gets an “A” for effort although the film itself falls flat on just about every other level. The acting is on a “drama class” level except for Jeanette Kelly who plays the dead wife of the woodsman (Michael Brody aka Gary Kent).

The film opens with some beautiful shots of a couple hiking through a valley and into a forest. They realize too late that someone is stalking them. They are both dispatched in typical slasher fare. Our killer uses a trusty hunting knife throughout the entire film, except during a flashback when he implements a handsaw, pitchfork and rusty saw blade to dispatch his cheating wife’s lover. The gore score would probably be about a 4 out of 10. There are mostly cheap blood effects but there is a “skinning” scene that isn’t really graphic but it does give you a bit of the willies. There is also a scene where the two male hikers spend the night in the woodsman’s cave. One of them shares dinner with the man who just happens to have a fresh kill roasting over the fire…or “stove” as one of the men call it in the script. That right there kind of gives away some of the highlights of the dialog in this movie. The music in this movie is pretty groovy in an early 80’s kind of way. Especially “Dark side of the Forest” with its acidy guitar tone and Jethro Tull like vocals. Don’t worry it won’t get stuck in your head for long and if it does I sincerely apologize.

Code Red has released this on DVD but the version I viewed was the old Prism Video rental that had a cool trailer for Tobe Hooper’s Eaten Alive on it. The Code Red DVD does boast an interview with director Don Jones, actor Gary Kent and cinematographer Stuart Asbjornsen plus an anamorphic wide screen transfer…wow! That might be worth picking up!

The Forest is actually a pretty enjoyable little flick. You can watch it for a good chuckle and also find that the storyline itself is pretty damn original. Like I stated before Don Jones gets an “A” for effort on this one.



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