Myth has it that there are beautiful but deadly nymph creatures who dwell in the dark shadows of the ancient Miranda Forest. Thrown out of heaven after they became infected with human emotions of lust and sexual desire, these fallen angels now roam the forest, luring in unsuspecting victims with their beauty before seducing them and brutally killing them. Travelling the countryside, five teenagers accidentally run down a girl on a dark road. Badly injured and stuck in the middle of nowhere, they set off to find help. When they stumble on a secluded cabin in the heart of the woods they think their prayers have been answered, but unfortunately, their troubles are just beginning. The cabin belongs to Stephen, who unbeknownst to the teenagers once saw the cursed nymphs with his own eyes when he was a child. He watched helplessly as they brutally butchered his parents, so now Stephen lives in the forest, using passers by as bait to lure out the beautiful creatures so he can act out his bloody revenge. As night wears on, the youths struggle to survive as they're terrorised by the demonic creatures outside, whose hunger for human flesh seems almost insatiable. One by one the kids are picked off, until only two remain. Only two things are certain - they'll have to figure out a way to survive the night if they ever want to see daylight again, and there's much more to the story than myth... Fear has never been so beautiful. Seduction never so terrifying...
Spoilers follow ...
- Forest of the Damned review by NP
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You rated this film: 4
Before this film is even ten minutes into its running time, we have had naked vampires, sex, gore and two ‘You’ve got to be f****** kidding me’s’. I’m surprised how much I like it. The initially dreaded ‘group of friends go on a road-trip’ is as unpromising as these things often are: ‘crazy’ kids tearing up the countryside to the soundtrack of rock music never fills me with a desire for anything other than to skip forward. The characters are given the first names of characters from the John Hughes teen flick ‘The Breakfast Club (1985)’. The results are oddly American names for a very British collective, this decision hardly adding to their already scant credibility. Outwitting and out-glaring each other at every opportunity, it isn’t long before they are accosted by a raving man at a petrol station – this brief scene actually explains the main thrust of the story: angels have been rejected from Heaven because of extreme sexual desires and apparently frequent the nearby woodlands. Problem is, this is all relayed so briefly and in the form of such extreme ranting, that the details are very easy to overlook.
“There’s something in the forest,” whispers Emilio (Richard Cambridge), and really, that’s all we need to know. The nymphs in the forest, the Rottweiler-toothed seductresses ensnare, arouse, overpower and gorily cut down the body-count with impressive ease.
‘Forest of the Damned’ won’t please everyone (what can?). The acting is variable, the characters take some while to make any impression. But there are some good effects and some pleasing gore. Above all, though, is the stifling atmosphere of unease that, if anything, grows as the film goes on. The beautiful, wide open woodlands become a place of seduction and death.
A wild-eyed Tom Savini makes a surprise appearance (not really a surprise since he’s often top-billed, but I am pleasantly surprised he should appear in a low-budget British film like this). Horror writer Shaun Hutson (who has adapted at least three Hammer films) also appears as himself briefly.
This is a meandering, occasionally erotic horror in which the dislikeable aspects of the usual group are quickly side-lined in favour of a genuinely sensual/deadly ambience. Director Johannes Roberts is at pains not to create a ‘soft porn picture’ which, given the story material, is ‘tricky’ – for what it’s worth, I think he succeeds in directing something that transcends that, much like Jean Rollin did, and delivers a sultry evil that thrives on its tiny budget.