Director Shawn Burkett's 'Don't Fuck In The Woods 2' Is Trashy, Brainless Horror Fun

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The splatter subgenre's ascendancy in the early '80's represented a monumental shift in movie horror. Where once fear films relied on suggestion, atmosphere and carefully crafted Hitchcockian dread to propel their plots, newer motion pictures such as Dawn of the Dead, Friday the 13th, Cannibal Holocaust, Maniac, The Burning, The Evil Dead, Gates of Hell and A Nightmare on Elm Street eschewed innuendo in favor of explicitly visceral depictions of graphic sex and even more graphic violence. Rooted in Grand Guignol's lurid theatrical lynchings, the '60's low-budget camp-fests of gimmick kings Roger Corman, H.G. Lewis and William Castle and the exploitative shock tactics of underground '70's grindhouse cinema, this tsunami of celluloid usurpers worried parents, teachers and moral pundits the world over just as they enthralled a younger generation eager for the new movement's ostentatious freedoms. Emphasis now was irrevocably placed on the human body, naked and/or dead, and the simplified storylines of such movies soon became subject to scrutiny, imitation, and ridicule almost as quickly as they were released.

For better or worse, after decades of desensitizing, ever-escalating silver screen mayhem, that brand of over-the-top moviemaking has withered as audiences raised on constant carnage seek more substantial onscreen sustenance. It's not so much that the pendulum has swung back to implicit terrors as the horror metropolis simply has more diverse neighborhoods than in the days when Lucio Fulci commandeered local drive-ins. Yet the heady retro-throwback sugar-rush that splatter provided proudly survives in our politically-correct zeitgeist with Concept Media/Cyfuno Ventures/Studio 605's latest attention-grabbing feature, Don't Fuck In The Woods 2, the flagrant follow-up to writer/director Shawn Burkett's equally outlandish 2016 original.

For the uninitiated: a hive of six-inch phallic-shaped parasites that are the second cousins of the squiggling alien slugs in both 1986's campus zombie opus Night of the Creeps and 2006's rowdy romp Slither have invaded the forests in and around the Pine Hills Summer Camp. In true slasher flick fashion, a group of horny twenty-something counselors, including handyman Will (Jason Crowe), jock Übermench Mason (Mark Justice), and Alpha Bitch Tasha (Kenzie Phillips), arrive to set up the grounds prior to the new season, bonding over booze before bonding in decidedly more intimate ways and oblivious to the massacre in the previous movie until blood-soaked Meg (Brandy Mason) appears. As the sole survivor of the first film, Meg's seemingly lunatic warnings about the lust-fueled parasitic fiends falls on deaf ears until the carnally controlling critters begin their hostile sexually-transmitted takeover and the camp crew's dumbass antics rapidly devolve into depravity and dismemberment.

As one may ascertain from the in-your-face title (and shame on whoever missed the possible name Don't Fuck In The Woods Again), this isn't a movie that yearns to be an accepted mainstream masterpiece. The National Film Registry will never preserve any copies for future posterity as 'culturally, historically or aesthetically pleasing'; the script is purposely predictable, the acting amateurish, and while the thinnest of threads connect it to more serious sex-equals-death fare like David Cronenberg's Rabid and even 2015's fantastic It Follows, Don't Fuck In The Woods 2, like its predecessor, steadfastly wallows in copious female nudity and grisly body count excess and offers a firm sense of gruesome Reagan-era nostalgic exuberance a thousand Academy Award-nominated snoozers will never have. This film may be deliberately debauched, trashy and brainless, but it's fun, and in our current climate of over-sensitive, reactionary entertainment, that tiny f-word is more often than not something both blatantly missing and desperately needed in all our lives.

Yet while it may be undeniably amusing, it's still a definite matter of individual personal taste as to whether something like Don't Fuck In The Woods 2 is actually good or not. Discerning (read: snobbish) cinephiles undoubtedly won't be waving the genre flag after a viewing, and more than likely the intentionally tasteless content will split the horror faithful into love-it-or-hate-it factions. And since rumors abound that provocateur Burkett has plans to expand his soft-core splatter shenanigans into a trilogy, that divide will only deepen once the next chapter is released. For my time investment, however, the grotesque gratuitousness of Don't Fuck In The Woods 2 earns a 4 (out of 5) on my Fang Scale. My suggestion is to gather a few friends, order some pizza and enjoy the mischief. Bring on part 3, I say!

4.0 / 5.0