As her friends prepare to leave for a camping trip, Emily goes against the wishes of her abusive boyfriend, Peter and sneaks off to join them. Peter is not happy with Emily’s decision and plans to make her and her friends pay for the betrayal.
The plot has some creativity. A killer stalking horny young adults in the woods is not new but the vengeful psycho rarely gets this kind of screen time.
The acting is generally weak and the script has a few too many juvenile comments. Some of the dialogue seems like filler to kill time. With a relatively large cast, it takes some time away from the main characters.
There are some impressive make-up effects, especially one with a hatchet. The gore is appropriate with some entertaining kills; on and off-camera.
It is easy for critics to beat up on low-budget independent films but it is never really fair to try and compare production value to a big budget studio film. Director, Roger Boyer and his team obviously put some effort into the project, doing a nice job with the scenic location. Although set in the present, there is a retro feel. The music, the appearance of a classic muscle car and some of the furnishings are straight out of the 1980’s slasher movies.
Dark Forest has a fairly short run time at 74 minutes but drags a little and might have worked better as a short film or part of an anthology feature.
Tough critics looking for a serious horror film should move on but the last act makes it worth the time for the open-minded 80’s slasher fan who enjoys a little nostalgia.
Dark Forest is a lot like those campy films you could find many years ago on late-night cable. You were not going to run out and buy it on VHS but it was fun to watch on a late Saturday night with your favorite horror host.
Dark Forest is currently available on iTunes and Amazon.
Appropriate gore/visual effects 8
Production Value 8
Final Cut Score: = 74 %