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Friday, February 25, 2011

DVD Review: DARK FOREST OF DEATH (2006)

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---------Review by contributing writer Scott Baker---------

Directed by:  Jeong-min Kim
Distributed by:  Pathfinder Pictures

The premise for DARK FOREST OF DEATH sounds about as basic as you can get nowadays for a horror film: a group of teens/20-somethings go into the woods, bad things happen, and some/most/all of them wind up getting killed. Using an existing premise is not necessarily a bad thing. There are many successful franchises out there that start with a basic, previously-seen-before concept but then add new life to it by bringing in fresh elements and ideas. These franchises are few and far between, sure, but they are successful for a reason: audiences like them.

Unfortunately, DARK FOREST OF DEATH brings nothing new to the table. Oh, it tries to…by throwing in a girl that has premonitions about the deaths going on around her. But the plot is too predictable and the characters too unbelievable for it to even matter.  If you’re not familiar with DARK FOREST OF DEATH, here’s the synopsis, courtesy of Pathfinder Pictures:

Four campers embark on a mountain climbing trip to a forbidden mountain where few people travel. There will be no cell phone reception, no police, just four people in this sinister forest. When one of the girls begins to have terrible visions, the other three claim she is just being paranoid... but soon, their car breaks down, some strange injuries occur, the night sets in and the group realizes these violent images may actually be real. This means, they’re in for a long night that may never end... except in death.
 While not the worst movie I’ve seen this year (that honor goes to BIKINI VAMPIRE BABES, which you can check out my review here), DARK FOREST OF DEATH is not one I will ever revisit again…even if I am utterly deprived of entertainment. The movie is filmed well and looks great visually, but that cannot save it.

Probably the biggest problem I have with this film is that the characters do some of the dumbest, most unbelievably asinine things when confronted with a ‘horrific’ situation. For example, when two of them end up missing after the girl has a premonition of them dying, the other three decide to look for them ‘for a little while’ and then go get help. Cut to the next scene, and these three are now traipsing around in the dark, wandering through deep woods as they call out for their friends.

I’m sorry, but ANYONE that has seen ANY horror movie in the past thirty years will tell you: DON’T WANDER AROUND IN THE WOODS AT NIGHT IF PEOPLE ARE MISSING…unless you have guns (note the plural) or supernatural combat powers. Good grief…do I really have to spell that out? I would think that cinema nowadays would help dictate the way people act in real life. It sure would for me.

Not to mention the fact that these people are in a forest that was ravaged by one of the worst forest-fires in history…but everything is tall, lush, and green. This doesn’t strike anyone as odd? Really? I’m not the sharpest tool in the shed, but wow…even I would question this…multiple times.

The other aspect about DARK FOREST OF DEATH that annoys me is that nothing is ever really explained. We have people that bleed in the forest becoming possessed by some forest-spirits or something and then trying to kill everyone else. Ok…fine…now what? The characters toss out a few possible scenarios and one guy even mentions ‘the forest lost its soul after the fire’…but nothing is ever solidified. That normally isn’t a problem for me, but when the plot is a jumbled mess to begin with, it sure doesn’t help me enjoy myself.

The ONLY positive about this film is that has some decent gore. Lots of bloodshed towards the end, including one guy that gets the top of his head sliced in half with a shovel. Very nice. But, as mentioned above, this just isn’t enough to save a sinking ship.

Overall, I found DARK FOREST OF DEATH to be bland and boring, a film that will not be joining my DVD collection for sure. It’s a solid attempt at remaking and even adding to something familiar, but it never really gets off the ground. You might check it out for the gore, but be prepared to be annoyed for the first hour or so if you do. Otherwise, don’t waste your time.


CLICK HERE to watch the trailer
CLICK HERE to purchase the DVD
CLICK HERE to visit the official website of Pathfinder Pictures

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