Always Be Careful Within… – The Forest (1982)

Horror comes in all shapes and sizes and when taking the slasher genre and factoring in a cannibalistic woodsman, only good things can happen. The story is a simple one that tells the tale of various campers who go out into the woods, never to return as they soon become prey for a deranged old man who hunts them for food. Said old man’s tale is recounted one night to a couple of guys looking for their girlfriends, of how he killed his cheating wife and now lives in the woods, a hard and solitary existence. Unbeknownst to the two men, old man John has already killed one of the women and is now actively tracking down the last, looking to put a little food on his table for the coming winter.

For the most part, the film is not all that bad but the acting is cringe-worthy to say the least. Gary Kent who plays the cannibal John is the best of the lot with Dean Russell and John Batis being the worst. The two are so wooden in their performances, they almost take the viewer out of the movie every time that they open their mouths. They are more than unconvincing as a couple of people who have gone camping many times before and it almost would have been better to cast a couple of trees in their place, that is how dull and flat the two are. The one great thing about it all is the little twist involving the kids, though it does beg the question as to what is going on with them as it makes no sense at all the further along it goes. In fact, there are a number of plot holes throughout the entire picture like during the recounting of John’s story and subsequently, his later existence in the woods. Combine those with the poor script and the aforementioned acting and it sounds like a terrible way to spend an hour and a half, but once it gets going it is hard to not watch it.

The music is one of the few positives to be found with the direction from Don Jones being pretty straightforward. One can only expect so much from such a low budget feature and in that respect, it gives the viewer as much as it is able to. It could have been better in some respects, special effects included, but it works and contains enough cheese and horror to sate any fan.

1.5 out of 5

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