Monday, June 15, 2009

Kids Go To the Woods...Kids Get Dead (2009)

Have you ever heard such a genius title as Kids Go To the Woods…Kids Get Dead in all your horror-lovin’ days? In this fun throwback slasher, the title could also be used as the pitch when trying to sell the movie as well as the synopsis! And think of how many slasher films it so perfectly describes! It basically hit the nail on the head with the title, pretty much perfectly describing any slasher film that took place in the woods.

While the title itself is clever (how did no one ever think of it before?) it alone doesn’t guarantee a good movie. Can Kids Go To the Woods…Kids Get Dead give us horror fans something more besides a funny title? Keep reading to find out…

Now, I’m going to let the official synopsis do all the explaining since I couldn’t have written it better myself:

Do you remember staying up late to watch your favorite horror host on local television? With VHS tape in hand to record all the action (and hopefully not tape over anything important – like your home movies) this nearly forgotten ritual was a mainstay of our youth.

Kids Go To the Woods… Kids Get Dead brings back the classic slasher flick – complete with horny teenagers, worthless cops, a crazy war vet and a masked killer.

It’s Casey’s (Leah Rudick) birthday and to celebrate her and her friends are headed to a cabin in the woods for a wild weekend of sex, drugs and partying. A crazed Killer (Joseph Campellone) has other plans for them and it’s up to Casey’s younger brother Scott (Andrew Waffenschmidt), aided by a mysterious novel that seems to spell out their fate, to find their only hope of survival.

Yes, in keeping with the tradition of our childhoods and adventures in VHS recording, the film features faux commercials, taped over home movies and VHS fuzz in between vignettes of the movie and its sexy horror hostess, Candy Adams. I absolutely love this! It brought me back to my childhood, where I would tape over anything (goodbye, memories!) just to get the midnight horror special that was on TV. It’ll definitely give you that warm, fuzzy, nostalgic feeling!

The whole film is a love letter to 80’s slasher flicks, complete with the lovable clichés of drunken/high/horny teens, dumb cops, the crazy old guy that warns them not to go into the woods and hulking, masked killer. Yet it never feels old or tired, but is only interested in showing you a good time!

The story, written by Michael Hall (who also produced and directed) is pretty self-explanatory (kids go into the woods…kids get dead) but I thought the inclusion of the “mysterious novel” that Scott reads was pretty interesting. Though the idea is never quite developed enough, it was an original touch. I also thought Hall did a decent job of giving the kids personalities and actually making them likable. They aren’t just nameless, faceless kids getting butchered, but each of them has enough of a backstory and plenty of spunk to keep them interesting, from the macho jocks to the virginal girlfriend to the two lesbians!

The acting is also surprisingly good, especially by Andrew Waffenschmidt as Scott who is constantly being bullied. Though none of the actors will win an Oscar anytime soon, they all did a solid job. They were all very believable as their characters, whether they were partying or getting butchered by the killer. As for the killer, he was certainly an imposing figure! He is this huge, hulking guy with a full gas mask on his face (kinda like in My Bloody Valentine) and he carries a huge machete/knife (reminiscent of Jason Vorhees) and breathes like Darth Vader. Joseph Campellone did an amazing job playing him, and really evokes the menace of the killers from all your favorite slashers.

I can’t talk about the killer without mentioning some of the kills, and, boy, were there some impressive ones in Kids Go To the Woods…Kids Get Dead! The blood fell freely as people get gutted, get shot, get their heads popped open, get their heads slammed into mirrors, get their throats slashed, etc., etc. When the action starts, it definitely doesn’t let up! I also liked that even before the killer shows up to do some serious damage to the main characters, we get to see bloody scenes from the book Scott is reading. So even before the killer arrives there is still a lot of murderous mayhem going on! Also impressive are the special FX, especially considering the low budget of the film. With some makeup, fake blood and excellent editing this film does a lot! You can see the process they go through in the behind-the-scenes featurette included on the DVD’s special features, and the result in the film is pretty impressive!

Kids Go To the Woods…Kids Get Dead is a fun throwback to 80’s slashers that is for those that can remember the days of taping midnight horror movie shows on VHS. It is a very enjoyable film that is perfect to watch with a few beers and a big bucket of popcorn…just like back in the day (errrr…except you probably didn’t drink beer as a kid…)!

If I had to title this review, it would be something like, “Critic Watches ‘Kids Get Dead’ Movie…Critic Has Fun”.

Now go out and watch it, suckas!

Buy it on Amazon!

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