The Forest (Don Jones, 1982)

In an inversion of the process of scratching moss off a fallen tree limb, scratching the exterior of this ostensible killer-in-the-woods film leads to a fuzzier, fragrant, and fertile interior. Two couples, both with dysfunctions ranging from casual chauvinism to divorce (not to mention a vestige of homosocial desire), on a camping trip designated as both marriage-rejuvenator and expression of mythopoeic masculinity (goals with obvious incompatibility), encounter a third couple—her dead yet corporeal, him knife-wielding cannibal—and their two phantom-children in the woods. Domestic depression deserves better, as rivers of unchecked yearning and gendered violence roil and stew underneath a surface of rudimentary editing choices and movie-of-the-week emoting.

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