On some levels, Kids Go to the Woods... Kids Get Dead appears to be attempting a meta level comment on the beautiful people in trouble in the woods sub-genre of slasher films. As the title implies, it's very self-aware and constantly winking at the audience. The film is presented with host segments, featuring host Candy Adams (Carly Goodspeed), as if the film had been taped from late night television. The producers can't quite pull all the elements together, however, and the stilted performances, shoddy plot and many missed opportunities make the film not much more than a hot mess.
The film follows siblings Scott and Casey (Andrew Waffenschmidt and Leah Rudick) who are celebrating her birthday by going to an isolated cabin to party for the weekend with Casey's friends. The problem is that Casey's friends don't want tagalong Scott there. He's younger, and a bit of a nerd. Casey's friends are the cool types: Casey's boyfriend Derrick (Eric Carpenter), lesbian couple Robin and Jill (Kristen Adele and Amanda Rising), and jock Tom and his girlfriend Heather (Seth Stevens and Meghan Miller).
Shunned by the others, Scott spends most of his time reading a horror novel, the eponymous Kids Go to the Woods... Kids Get Dead. It seems to parallel the events of the weekend trip exactly, though Scott doesn't figure that out for some time. The film follows most of the slasher tropes. The kids are warned by the grizzled old convenience store clerk Lloyd (Kevin Shea) to stay away, to no avail. All the police officers are inept. Even though they are underage, they manage to stock up on beer, and spend a couple of days drinking, partying and having sex. Except for Derrick, who grows increasingly upset by Casey's refusal to put out. The erotic aspects are not overplayed as far as these films go, but they are definitely front and center, especially the lesbian scenes with Robin and Jill. There's even a session with a Ouija board, always a no-no in the horror movie universe.
And soon enough, the killings start. The killer is a mysterious man wearing a gas mask. He kills in a variety of ways, but mostly by stabbing. Though they are not particularly inventive, the deaths are fairly well executed, with nice blood effects. Mostly, the film's a muddle. The performances are not great, despite a couple of valiant efforts, particularly Kevin Shea's Lloyd, and they are hampered by poor dialogue and bad editing. There are a couple of very obvious goofs. At one point, a woman, fresh from coitus (during which her partner is killed though she doesn't realize it) gets up to walk to the bathroom and wash up. But instead of being nude, she is clearly wearing blue jeans when she exits the room.
But what really dooms the film to mediocrity is that it's neither scary nor particularly funny. No sort of tension is developed or maintained. There are no appreciable jump scares. The humor is crass without eliciting much more than the occasional giggle. The producers needed to overcome their small budget with a surfeit of enthusiasm and gusto, and they don't. There are a lot of intriguing hints or plot threads that could be developed or looked at more closely, but they are mostly abandoned. Gore hound completists might want to check this out, but it's a Rent It for most everyone else.
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