Alex, a firefighter in a small town, is having some marriage problems. His friend and Chief takes him on a hunting trip in order to help get Alex's troubles off his mind. The two end up stumbling across a bizarre burial site in the woods where they uncover the skull from some unknown creature. That's when Alex's troubles really begin as a blood thirsty monster starts terrorizing his small town and it's up to him to put the beast back in its grave.
I always find it funny what people consider to be a bad movie. "In The Woods" is one that I've seen being lauded as one of the worst movies. Eh, not quite. Not even close, actually. With this nostalgic binge that I've been on with these Dead Alive titles, "In The Woods" has probably been the most well produced one that I've seen.
It's one that I would consider to be a safe title: Lynn Drzick wasn't looking to break barriers, push envelops, make the sickest, the greatest or scariest movie. He found a simple concept and made a straight forward horror movie. You have the character Alex Kerwood having to deal with his personal problems and the problems of digging up the grave of an ancient evil - a demon dog. Now he has to deal with this creature leaving body parts around his house while the cops think he's the serial killer they're looking for. Of course, things become even more complicated when Alex learns that he has to be the one to put the beast back in it's grave.
No fuss, no muss. In terms of plot points, it's not exactly cliché but the setup and execution is basically what you would expect. No surprises. No twists. It could be boring in that sense but after the garbage that I've sat through recently I can appreciate there being a story, even if it's a simple one. And maybe that is what's saving "In The Woods" from my grumpiness; because I have seen movies that are so much worse, I can appreciate this movie more for its efforts than its execution. Certainly some of the dramatic elements could have been axed to make way for more monster action and seeing people being ripped to shreds. However, it was a satisfying, if only decent, viewing experience because it told a story (It actually managed to get from A to B, and not be a disaster.) and brought it's main plot and one subplot together to give both a worthy conclusion, albeit a bit anti-climatic. It sounds simple enough and something any movie should be able to do, and should do, but it's actually a pretty tall order in the world z-grade trash cinema.
In hind sight, some things could have been better but that's almost always the case of any movie. I mean c'mon, "The Collector" shouldn't have sucked but it did - there are lots of things that should have been better but people still loved that movie. For some reason. The only thing that was bad about "In The Woods" was the serial killer subplot; it's there only to serve as a device to make the police suspect that Alex is the killer. It wasn't needed at all actually, especially if you consider that the cops would have suspected him as a killer with body parts showing up around his house regardless. In general, it made the serial killer bit rather pointless because it wasn't needed and the biggest reason is that it didn't have any sort of affect on the central plot.
People can point their finger at this movie and talk about the bad acting, the less than impressive effects or even the very odd audio that makes the movie seem like it was dubbed (I'm positive the movie was entirely ADR'ed). Overall, it wasn't that bad. Sure there are the typical faults for a first time feature or a low-budget project and there isn't anything about it that would make me say it's a good movie. But it's a passible movie and it was far better in comparison to some of these other backyard projects that I've watched, like "The Demons In My Head". "In The Woods" isn't about to achieve cult status anytime soon, or ever, for that matter. Nah. It's more regulated to being a guilty-pleasure for people while it sits in the discount bin.