Finally! A teen oriented horror flick that's a straight-forward, balls-to-the-wall horror flick that's not packed with smirky, in-joke filled humour.
A surprise minor hit in theatres this and House Of 1000 Corpses found themselves pegged as part of an apparent "70's horror revival" and though this is similar in plot to some 70's thrillers (most notably Deliverance) it manages to stand on its own and deliver a Hell of a fun time.
Desmond Harrington is headed for an important University interview and takes a backroad in West Virginia due to an highway blockage. He becomes distracted and runs into the vehicle of a group of fellow twenty-somethings whose car tires have been popped by homemade barbed wire planted on the road. Soon they're off to get help and end-up at the deranged shack of some deformed hillbillies who soon enough discover their presence and proceed to chase them throughout the woods with murder in mind.
This update of "mountainman" horror certainly isn't much new in the premise department but it's still a well-crafted ride with a fair share of okay suspense, some nice tension when they're hiding in the cabin, a couple of nice "jump" moments (a true sign a horror film is working when it makes me jump) and some really cool deaths (one involving barb wire, the other - and most cool death in a mainstream horror movie in recent memory - involving an axe). This is a solid, entertaining and completely recommended time.
Kudos to director Rob Schmidt and writer Alan McElroy (who genre fans know for Halloween 4) for bringing us true horror fans something we can dig our teeth into.
Directed By: Rob Schmidt.
Written By: Alan McElroy.
Starring: Desmond Harrington, Eliza Dushku, Emmanuelle Chriqui, Jeremy Sisto.
Picture Ratio: 1.85:1 Widescreen (Full Frame on flipside).
Picture Quality: There's a few moments of light fuzz but generally this is a flawless picture. It looks awesome.
Extras: Firstly I'd like to commend Fox for lately releasing their discs with both formats (Wide/Full) which I believe will please both movie geeks like myself (who only want Wide) and casual movie viewers who "don't like the black bars". It's a smart movie that Warner needs to embrace next. Now onto the extras... There's a trailer, poster concept art (I love the one with the title spelt in the hillbillies teeth), four mostly brief featurettes (one on the making of, an effects focussed making of, an Eliza Duskhu fluff-up one and a Stan Winston one), three deleted scenes and an entertaining commentary by director Schmidt with Dushku and Harrington. Overall a decent package.