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The Forest (1982) - Blu-ray Review

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The Forest (1982) - Blu-ray Review

2 beersThere’s a cave in the dense forest at the center of this movie.   A deep, dark hole where a man in a shirt and ripped pants, baseball hat and all, looking very much like a truck driver, sits … IN A ROCKING CHAIR.  There’s a campfire next to him.  He’s been eating something.  Well, he’s been eating SOMEONE.  And, yeah, it’s pretty gross.  He’s an interesting guy.  Speaks to his two DEAD children.  Hell, he sees them, too.  And, as they alert him to when there are strangers in the forest, he actually depends on them to keep him fed.  Ghost kids.  And a pissed off ghost mother.  All involved in keeping a cannibal isolated yet alive. 

The Forest is not a great movie.  It is; however, acceptable for a b-movie with the slasher genre on its mind.  In fact, it does some pretty interesting things with the genre.  It has its moments – mainly the hesitant killer in the cave – and, as he apologizes while killing, adds some remorse to the slasher proceedings. 

But even mentioning that fact is a bit misleading because, ultimately, The Forest burns itself to the ground (for most people) relatively early on with some really poor acting, a hilariously cheesy soundtrack (that, if listened to repeatedly, would certainly make me kill), and a wonky screenplay involving ghost kids.

Written and directed by Don Jones, The Forest is not without passion.  Love it or hate it. that passion is why it has a whole (hidden) legion of fans that Code Red hopes to snag with its release of of the film on blu-ray.  Fans will be thrilled to know that this HD copy exists.   

A spark of creativity IS certainly there throughout the movie.  You just have to whittle it down.  And it does some interesting things with a pretty standard horror flick.  Jones, who mortgaged his house (and lost it in the end), was confident enough in what he was doing to really dig his heels into some thick supernatural ground.  Unfortunately, the damn thing just NEVER made any money. 

The Forest concerns itself with two couples and their misadventures when they go hiking straight into a forest that houses the remorseful cannibal sitting in the cave, rocking away his misery.  John (Gary Kent) kills only to eat.  He doesn’t want to and he hesitates with each and every wound he inflicts; he’s traumatized after finding his wife in bed with another man and killing her and his kids, who now haunt the forest. 

But the idiots (and they are exactly that) who come hiking don’t know ANY of his story.  Sharon (Tomi Barrett) and Teddi (Ann Wilkinson), the hot friend, arrive to the forest first.  Their husbands, Steve (Dean Russell) and Charlie (John Batis), arrive a little later and wind up breaking bread AND meat with John, who tells them his story with SEVERAL flashbacks. Insert dramatic flashback music here.

You know the stars will align and everyone will cross paths with John.   You just don’t know how it’s going to end and whom it is that will survive.  And, to its credit, The Forest does pull it off in a very disturbing manner at different times and in different ways.

There’s a lot of miserable day for night shots and an alarming lack of blood when jugulars are opened.  That’s the bad.  We also get a lot of creepy killer POVs throughout and, of course, the presence of the ghost children and their pissed off ghost mom makes things extremely weird and (often) hard to piece together.

And the ending, complete with the synthesized theme song, is a doozy.  This is a slow film, which is part of its problem.  It’s only like 85-minutes long, but it feels so very loooooong.  Add to that the lack of gore and sex and, for a slasher film, you have, well, some problems. 

Maybe you are one of the few who actually can see The Forest for the trees…

The Forest (1982) - Blu-ray Review

MPAA Rating: R.
85 mins
: Don Jones
Don Jones
Dean Russell, Gary Kent, Tomi Barrett
: Horror
If you go down to the woods today - you might never get out alive!.
Memorable Movie Quote: "Run, or Daddy will eat you."
Theatrical Distributor:
Fury Films, Ltd.
Official Site:
Release Date:
June 11, 1982
DVD/Blu-ray Release Date:
June 7, 2016
Synopsis: Two couples plan a trip into the forest. But they didn't count on a killer on the loose with a taste for human flesh! Haunted by the ghosts of his children, the killer is eventually double-crossed as the ghosts of his children come to the aid of the campers in this unique entry into the killer-in-the-woods genre.

The Forest (1982) - Blu-ray Review


Blu-ray Details:

Home Video Distributor: Code Red DVD
Available on Blu-ray
- June 7, 2016
Screen Formats: 1.78:1
: None
Dolby Digital Mono
Discs: Blu-ray Disc; single disc
Region Encoding: Locked to Region A, B

With an aspect ratio of 1.78:1, the new 1080p MPEG-4 AVC upgrade of The Forest is pretty appealing.  The film has never looked as GREEN as it does here.  Blues are steadier.  Shadows a bit more engaged and the film just looks a bit more professional than remembered.  It’s still a weak production, with quiet a bit of errors, but it certainly looks better thanks to Code Red than it ever did on VHS.  Cleaner and with a bit more life, the mono audio is presented in a DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0 track.



  •  Surprisingly, there are two feature length commentaries on this release.  The first features the film’s director, Don Jones, and cinematographer Stuart Asbjornsen.  Of great interest is their willingness to talk about all the illegal things they did during the filming of the movie.  In the second commentary, director Jones and actor Kent (the killer) talk about the movie and the performances.

Special Features:

There’s a 13-minute discussion of the film by those involved in the commentaries.  A trailer is also included as well as trailers of other titles available from Code Red.

  • Featurette (13 min)
  • Trailer (2 min)

The Forest (1982) - Blu-ray Review

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