Michael Berryman, a legendary actor of over 53 horror films makes a cameo appearance in director Jason Robert Stephens’ seventh horror film, entitled Necrosis who he co-wrote with Robert Michael Ryan, creating a slow pacing and brooding story. Their concept, involves one the most disgusting massacres and survival tales penned in America’s history, the Donner Party, and while many horror movies have covered the event from multiple angles, Jason’s viewpoint swerves a little to the paranormal side. Six friends arrive at an isolated cabin, for a long weekend in the snow, however Mother Nature descends upon them with a raging snowstorm sending their vacation into a tailspin, from which recovery becomes increasingly scary and dangerous with each drop of the temperature and additional snowflake. Their getaway location has major issues, remote, and close to the location of the Donner Party Massacre, that plagues many visitors and now a group that appears clearly out of their depths for survival.

The group contains quite a bit of diversity, perhaps to appeal to various demographics in the horror scene, or to create tension for the members of the group, but character Jerry (James Kyson Lee) takes the lead, instead of the silly Asian man. He joins with buddies Michael Scottfield (Robert Ryan) teamed with his girlfriend (Tiffany – a noted 1980s pop singer, who recently finds herself more frequently in horror films) and Matt (George Stults), Samantha (Danielle De Luca) and Megan (Penny Drake) venturing to this Sierra, Nevada. Although, warned by locals, the group sets forth to conquer the weekend and relax with fun and friends, and forget the fears that plague the area in 1846 and the ghosts from then too. A few flashback scenes and vague ghostly mentions try to have a creepy dead people feel to the film, and yet stay under developed and unearthed for far too long in this haunted tale.

Soon enough, with the storm, and mounting tension, a once beautiful cabin in the woods, becomes a tomb for terror, though the questions exists is it the ghosts of the Donner party or a new form of cabin fever, lacking the answer results in disastrous results. Jerry’s problems surface at first as a mere mention, of man with mental illness issues who manages to keep himself controlled with the use of medication. However, soon issues surround him, and pry open his paranoia and schizophrenia causing him to release his rage with the assistance of fully loaded rifle and plenty of ammunition. Samantha’s character echoes the fear with constantly whining and panicking perhaps encouraging Jerry’s downfall, and yet it conjures and uncaring reply from both the group and audience. The lack of direction plays factor, and noting the group should have time to truly discover prior to filming what isolationism feels proper, though lack of funds and shoot schedule could easily prevent it from happening. Nevertheless, the acting stays fresh and intense, with helpless trying to translate to audience yet this group never makes the connection to them that this situation has dire consequences.

Necrosis, noted a low-budget film, that heavily borrows from original The Shining (1980) horror thriller, with the dealing of remoteness and mental issues occurring, yet tries to develop an urge for explanation leaning to the paranormal likely since it is popular in films today. As for the violence while realistic and effective, especially with the usage of firearms producing deadly results, the enhancement of blood on white pristine snow always allows for cheap and yet stunning contrasts, thereby creating splattering of blood quickly and easily.  Tiffany’s character did not find a useful outlet for her performance except from her song “Winters Over”, likely for a connection to the working title, Dead of Winter, hinting to the what remains afterwards brings its own horrors.

The film, from BrinkDVD, lacks a conviction, whether to make a horror film about a man facing his own demons or about the madness that comes from confined places, mounting doom and whiteout condition. Those expecting from the cover art some sort of dead arises to spook the visitors into causing harm to each other, need to look elsewhere, while the thought of that has interest, that concept found itself buried in the snow. Necrosis brings violence and paranoia to the surface in conjunction with the exploration conceptual psychological terror and mental anguish for all to endure their fates with dwindling options, resources and mounting fears.

This review originally posted in August 2014  on the now defunct website Rogue Cinema with a view count 1,149 views.




IMDb Rating: 3.3/10

Baron’s Rating: 3.5/10