“If you people wanna survive this thing you better start looking, and thinking, like a forest.”
Opening Scene: A young couple, Lori and Jimmy, wipeout on a motorbike in the woods. Jimmy hurt his leg so Lori runs for help. When she comes back he’s gone. Eventually, she finds him dead, hanging upside down from a tree so she makes a run for it, tripping a trap made from soup can lids and tree branches. She’s dead now too in case that wasn’t clear.
Elsewhere: Eggar is a substitute park ranger drill sergeant filling in for Mike. He wakes up a group of young men: Nathaniel, Dennis, Marco, and Boone. He drives them (and Mike) to Mill Creek for park ranger boot camp. Along the way, they pick up a group of girls: Margaret, Vanessa, and Daryl Hannah. Daryl Hannah’s first film? Also, Mike’s girlfriend, Melanie. Eggar warns them the whole way up not to go. Don’t go where I’m driving you!
They arrive at the drop off. Everyone picks on Eggar while they get situated. It’s amazing that he can be both the harbinger and red herring at the same time.
Once set up, it’s night time and they sit around the campfire. Time for stories in the dark. Boone tells the story of a 14 year old who got raped by her lumberjack uncle then admitted to the mental institution they passed on the way. It turns out she got pregnant and had a son, 19 years ago. It’s just a story, but Eggar gets pissed, granted, he’s pissed most the time anyway. Is Eggar the kid? See Alabama, this is what happens when you make abortion illegal, especially in instances of rape and incest! Now we got a killer on the loose!
There’s supposedly weed growing in the area so Dennis and Nathaniel go on a search for weed leaving Marco on watch. In the morning, Marco is missing. See what happens when you make weed illegal?! Mike, Dennis, and Nathaniel search for him, but only find his bandana. Mike sends Dennis and Nathaniel back to camp so he can go skinny dipping while Melanie watches from the woods. She sneaks up on him and they have sex right out in the open. But the sex is cut short, by some sort of homemade knife!
Dennis and Nathaniel keep searching until they find some old cabins, one of which appears to be lived in. Inside, they find Eggar’s hat, some women’s clothing, and stuff that’s been missing around camp. Eggar’s a thief! Not sure exactly when he stole any of this shit, they’ve only been there 12 hours tops. Dennis finds a jar with shrooms in it so he takes it. They then find a severed animal head in a cupboard so they get the hell out of there.
Night falls. They make another fire. Marco, Mike, and Melanie are still missing and they think Eggar is behind it (although Eggar is missing too). Dennis makes a new rule: Stay in pairs. Then he takes first watch.
Margaret wakes up screaming to some creature petting her forehead. The others wake up and Dennis runs back, but the creature is gone. They hear a noise so they all go check it out. It’s Marco. He was hiding the whole time?
Vanessa goes to the outhouse, alone. While pissing, she discovers Mike’s severed head, then the rest of him. They go back to the campfire to devise a plan. They shoulda slept in the cabins, I don’t recall seeing any tents and it’s not like they didn’t know about them.
In the morning, they camouflage themselves and sneak over to the old cabins. There’s smoke coming out of the main cabin. Nathaniel breaks in with a big stick and a machete. The others soon join him. Judging by their reactions, it smells worse now than it did the day before. They find a human hand in a jar, but the good news is, Melanie is still alive. She’s under the floorboards, unbeknownst to them, with a knife to her throat.
They grab an air raft and head to the river. The creature follows them and watches them, until finally dropping Melanie’s body on them. Now she dead. For some reason, the creature really likes dropping bodies and parts on people, like your cat dropping a dead bird off on your doorstep. They bury her and get back into the raft. What the hell? They didn’t bury Mike!
They find the bus, but no keys. They take refuge inside and Daryl Hannah finally lights the joint she’s been carrying around for the past ten scenes. Seems like a bad time to get high. They still think they’re after Eggar. They always want to wait to attack. If it’s night, they wanna attack in the morning, if it’s day they want to wait till night. Something always almost happens, but never really does.
The creature shows up and breaks out a window with its pickaxe thing before chasing them off. There’s like seven of them and none of them decide to stick around and see what they’re up against? They lose Daryl Hannah and she gets pushed down by the creature. She’s got a gash on her neck. Marco and Dennis run back to the bus to get the first aid kit, which for some reason includes a sewing kit. Margaret sows her up while talking in the third person.
It’s daylight now as they continue the hike. Although it seems they are getting farther away from the bus, the raft, and hope, it’s actually part of the plan. The problem is, Dennis starts having Nam flashbacks cuz he’s on magic mushrooms. The others leave him, he’s too young to have served in Nam.
Alone, Marco calls out Eggar so he shows up, puts a rope around his neck, and starts choking him. But it’s a trap, the others jump out and kick the shit out of him. The creature shows up and kills Dennis. Then the creature, which is actually just a person dressed up as a creature, trips a trap and gets impaled and killed... The End.
Afterthought: What in the holy hell? This had all the ingredients: The mental Institute, the girl that got raped by her uncle and had the kid, Egger could have been the kid, the uncle coulda been in the creature suit, but nothing! Nine semi-main characters in the group and only three deaths? Seven total if you count Egger, the unnecessary couple from the opening, and the killer. I’m surprised they didn’t remake this movie in the early 2000’s, the era of explaining classic horror films.
This was filmed in 1981, the heyday of summer camp horror, but not released until 1983. Not only does it fall flat, but it’s based on a non-existent premise: There’s no such thing as park ranger boot camp, not that they actually called it that. All you need is a Bachelor of Science degree in one or more related areas. The title is misleading, there’s nothing final about this film, except that they didn’t make a sequel. And when and who built the fucking trap that finally killed the creature/person?
Fun Fact: Mike (Mark Metcalf) went on to play the crazy dad and teacher in the old Twisted Sister videos then later played The Maestro on Seinfeld.
Another Fun Fact: Eggar (Joe Pantoliano) is Teddy from Memento.
The Badass Award goes to Dennis I guess, even though he was a jackass and got killed. Whether the group liked it or not, he was kinda the glue that held them together.
Now I am introducing a new award, the Brother That Made It To The End Award: Nathaniel.
What did we learn? Survival Tips:
1) Don’t ride your motorbike through the woods!
2) Don’t fuck in the woods!
3) Don’t do shrooms if you know there’s a killer after you!