Five Movies Where You Need More Than a Compass to Survive a Night in the Woods

All the talk this Halloween is about the new Blair Witch movie, one of the numerous sequels to 1999’s The Blair Witch Project. But not me. The original faux-documentary never scared me—and I was at the impressionable age of eight when I saw it—so I’m not exactly excited to pay eight dollars to see this latest installment. What I am excited about is being able to watch these five other great horror movies that also take place in some scary woods. Watch them if you dare!


The Forest

Really, the only thing scary about this movie is how long the main character’s cell phone lasts without having to be recharged. But Jason Zada’s 2016 The Forest makes the list because of its terrifying connection to a real forest: Aokigahara. This dense forest at the base of Mt. Fuji in Japan is the setting for Zada’s story. It’s also known in real life as the Suicide Forest. While the movie has Natalie Dormer (Game Of Thrones, Hunger Games: Mockingjay Parts 1 & 2)’s character fighting off angry spirits in an attempt to find her lost sister, hundreds of people willingly enter Aokigahara to face their own personal demons—and many of them don’t come back out. According to Mirror, local authorities no longer publicize the number of attempted or successful suicides in the woods, but the last report from 2010 showed 247 attempts and 54 deaths for the year.

While The Forest takes a much more supernatural approach to the issues in Aokigahara, the real monster that needs defeated is Depression. Unfortunately, you can’t simply take an ax to Depression’s head and claim your victory, so for those of you on the edge, it may be better to wait and see the beauty of Aokigahara when you’re in a better mental state. But feel free to watch The Forest! The stupidity of the main character will make you feel much better about yourself.

Evil Dead

Even though Fede Alvarez’s 2013 movie is about as scary as The Forest without even making the extra effort to set the story in a real life haunted forest, Evil Dead still makes the list because of the pure grossness. I’m talking, major nastiness. I’m a proud fan of the Saw franchise, and even those movies didn’t make me gag like this one did. After scene upon scene of bile demon vomit and amputations, the fake blood raining down from the sky forced me to drop my large buttered popcorn that I paid six dollars for. I didn’t even get my free refill at the end of the movie! Anything that can do that has my utmost respect (and a bit of disdain—all that popcorn, wasted!).

Wrong Turn

Finally, we get to something scary! Rob Schmidt’s Wrong Turn is your classic “backwoods inbred hillbillies on a killing spree” movie. While it lacks the gore and sex scenes of most movies nowadays, it’s got a jump scare factor that can withstand 13 years and a kick-ass female lead. Plus, Death is in it. Literally. Julian Riching–who plays Death on the tv show Supernatural–is one of the mutants in Wrong Turn. And boy, is his laugh creepy!

Cabin in the Woods

Forget everything you thought you knew about horror films! Drew Goddard’s Cabin in the Woods may take scenes directly from Evil Dead and Wrong Turn, but that’s the beauty of this movie—it takes the classic “dumb-kids-trapped-in-the-woods-with-a-monster” story and turns it into a sacrificial movie of epic proportions. The five college kids expecting a fun weekend in the woods have no idea that their actions are being manipulated by unseen puppeteers, and the fact that they’re minds can be so easily persuaded is almost as terrifying as the monsters.

Tucker and Dale vs. Evil

These are the one woods I wouldn’t mind finding myself in, so long as I wasn’t a dumb college kid. Tucker and Dale are having “one doozy of a day” in Eli Craig’s 2010 satirical horror film after a bunch of college kids mistake them for murderers. Of course, our hillbilly heroes wouldn’t purposefully hurt anyone, especially not the cute girl who slipped off some rocks while skinny dipping. They take her in and nurse her back to health, but her friends are just sure that they’re torturing her. In their poor attempts to rescue her, the college kids end up accidentally killing themselves and wrecking Tucker and Dale’s new vacation home. By the end of it all, you realize that not every chainsaw wielding man in the woods is a bad guy. Now, if it’s a kid in a polo shirt, that’s a different story!

Did I miss one of your favorites? Share in the comments below or on our sister site, The Unrefined Forum!

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