There’s truly no surprise to anyone how many horror films I see in an average year, of even how I obtain the permission nevertheless this one was very special, I knew the filmmakers, but that does not mean there’s a bias, I treat everyone’s film the same, to survive in this business you must have firm standards. I had the privilege of seeing this movie a while ago, in fact on March 2, 2018 at the Renaissance Hotel in Iselin, NJ at New Jersey Horror Con and Film Festival their special engagement of a midnight showing; followed by a an impromptu Q&A I clearly recall Jason L. Koerner gave me a shoutout on the stage and this film won the Audience Award. I respectfully didn’t publish a review, as the film was an advance screening subject to color correction and post-production fixes, hence unfair to judge based on watching a raw cut. However, as the film has achieved both distribution on multiple sites and platforms, from both Indican Pictures and Lionsgate it is time to dive deeply into the madness, discover the bloodshed, and expose the mysteries of these acres.
As the movie generated a buzz on social media, it’s clearly a low-budget independent horror film containing a lot of throwback reminders to the dedicated slasher fans, but spoiler doesn’t have a final girl conclusion. No, this movie pours in portions of Friday the 13th (1980); Wrong Turn (2003); Psycho (1960) and of course, believe it or not Predator (1987), a strange blend but that gives it homage and sick moments. The flick has had numerous people attached and then replaced and I won’t dwell on that because its commonplace, sometimes due to outside reasons, rather Hank Leigh Hump makes is feature film debut, using a screenplay Jason L. Koerner, Ed McKeever (Blood Lodge ) and Gene Snisky, who also starred in the lead role.
The movie tries to incorporate some drama into the backstory of the main principal character Buck Severs (Snisky), who is a former WWE wrestler who suffered some sort of accident, but struggles to clearly layer this efficiently well, then again the filmmakers know their core audience here from carnage and slasher good fun, rather the deep personal growth of a character. Hence, we learn he’s here to join with buddies for a weekend of drinking and tall-fun, which comes with the customary paper-thin characters and face it any group of people equals a body count to purge in various styles. His friends among the group Trent (Jeff Swanton) calls Buck for a return of their Bro’s Weekend friends Morgan (Ernest O’Donnell (Red State )) and Bo McKeever (Jim Roof (Primal Rage: The Legend of Konga )). While on their way for hunting trip they make a stop at a clichéd convenience store, run by a doomsayer similar to Crazy Ralph, this time portrayed by Old Merl (Robert Waldron) to ask for directions; oh by the way, look for the cameo appearance of Genoveva Rossi (Blood Slaughter Massacre ), on the cover of Backwoods Beaver magazine. Obviously they get a warning (which we all know they’ll ignore to stay away from an old abandon wildlife preserve, which is also belonged to urban legend of Jeb Tucker (Sam Anoai). In addition, one can’t omit the contributions from horror icons Elieen Dietz (Itsy Bitsy ) and Catherine Corcoran (Terrifier ), as Betty Oswald and Sissy, respectively. Now without trudging further into the plot, it blends slasher and action segments to land in conclusion that mirrors Predator (1987) but instead of Schwarzenegger its Snisky exchanging an endless barrage of wrestle maneuvers against a Madman.
First, while slashers often have both elaborate kills, and lately a gore factor, this brings only half that to screen, namely the killing aspects however it’s still not enough to fault the movie. Next up, is the usage of jump scares, some work and others so-so, it likely depends on the viewer if rating how successful the usage is on the screen. As for the dialogue it’s the standard in horror, with a few comical line to break the tension, which must occur though a rule for many not to overuse during rehearsal thereby the impact not ruined during filming. Now one must note the hints of homage of music that hint to Friday the 13th (1980) and thereby extension Psycho (1960), refreshing it’s not all synth-wave music.
Although the movie had a highly limited theatrical engagement, and ramped up the independent marketing via all social media platforms, it seems to suffer from a low rating number on IMDb, which some may scratch their heads for the reason why, perhaps its reasoning of final girl situation replaced by the final guy, messing with the staple in slasher stylization/formula. Say other critics point to the over-usage of wrestling moves in the woods and off cars that appears to resemble that of the Freddy vs. Jason battle, however I tend to disagree, the movie generates entertainment, yet tends to hide a twist and exposes it far too late into the third act to serve a more meaningful impact to overall storyline. Needless to say it does provide a unique piledriver timber splat moment that’ll likely make you squirm whenever you go camping.
IMDb Rating: 2.8/10
Baron’s Rating: 4.0/10