Vincent D’Onofrio’s Directorial Debut DON’T GO IN THE WOODSDecember 27, 2011

Vincent D’Onofrio’s Directorial Debut DON’T GO IN THE WOODS

Tribeca Film

On Demand Weekly provides new movie reviews of hot movies on demand and from the POV of watching from the comfort of your home. Today’s review: DON'T GO IN THE WOODS (Tribeca Film).

 

DON'T GO IN THE WOODS

By Chris Claro

 

“What I really want to do is direct” has been the mantra of actors virtually since the film industry began. The desire to run the show rather than simply hit the marks and smile has driven untold numbers of performers behind the cameras. Some, such as Clint Eastwood and Ron Howard, have transcended their work as actors, winning Oscars and respect for their work. The Sylvester Stallones of the world call the shots as a way of burnishing their own onscreen personae.

People like Stanley Tucci and Steve Buscemi, considered actors’ actors, create low-key tone poems that attract performers who enjoy working on an intimate level with directors who understand them. Then there’s the long list of actors, including Ed Harris, Tommy Lee Jones, and Robert Duvall, with passion projects that move them to take the helm of a film.

 



Into this panoply of actors turned directors, we must now welcome Vincent D’Onofrio. After making his indelible debut in Kubrick’s FULL METAL JACKET, D’onofrio developed a reputation as a singular performer whose choices were as broad as his abilities. Any actor who could play both Abbie Hoffman (STEAL THIS MOVIE) and Orson Welles (ED WOOD) and go from romantic comedy (HAPPY ACCIDENTS) to a ten-year stint as New York’s most mannered and quirky detective (LAW AND ORDER: CRIMINAL INTENT) has chops in front of the camera. But do those skills translate when he’s calling the shots?

In DON’T GO IN THE WOODS, D’onofrio tells the story of a five-man band heading up to a wooded campground to work on new music. Naturally, the band’s destination is a place of threat; young people and isolated spaces have been horror film staples since the medium was invented.

 



What distinguishes D’onofrio’s film is the preponderance of original music, in the form of songs composed by co-screenwriter Sam Bisbee. The songs are sprightly pop numbers that offset the increasing sense of menace that D’onofrio builds in a subtle and deliberate way. With pretty young things facing off against threats both seen and unseen, DON’T GO IN THE WOODS doesn’t break any new ground. In fact, D’onofrio seems content to let his horror clichés carry the film between its tuneful interludes. As a result, the picture is a bifurcated affair, and its two components are reminders of nothing less than an old SCOOBY-DOO cartoon.

 

 

Building slowly to its inevitably grisly climax, DON’T GO IN THE WOODS doesn’t surprise as much as intrigue, and D’onofrio must be given props as director. His attempt to do something novel with a tired genre is as admirable as Eli Craig’s effort at turning horror on its ear with the comedy TUCKER AND DALE VS. EVIL. Working on a small scale with unknown actors who do their own singing, D’onofrio’s feature debut is a trippy hybrid horror-musical that’s surprisingly entertaining.

 



If you’re ok with a little gore and guts, go to on-demand and don’t go in the woods.

 

DEMAND IT

 

- Chris Claro

Chris
Chris Claro is a contributing writer to On Demand Weekly. He is a former Director of Promotion for Sundance Channel and now works as a writer, producer, and media educator. He is a regular contributor to dvdverdict.com and contributor to the Eyes and Ears section of huffingtonpost.com

 

Look for DON’T GO IN THE WOODS (Tribeca Film) in your local cable movies on demand section.

 

 

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