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Backwoods Bloodbath (UK DVD)

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Backwoods BloodbathReviewed by Gareth Jones

Starring Scott Ash, Ryan Buth, Seth Chilsen, Jesse L. Cyr

Directed by Donn Kennedy

Distributed by MVM Entertainment


Some movies really ought to come with a bespoke display cabinet in retail stores, surrounded in yellow tape with an official looking gentleman standing next to them repeatedly stating, “Move along, folks – nothing to see here” and exercising lightning-fast restraining moves on anyone that attempts to breach the fluorescent perimeter. It’s for their own good.

Backwoods Bloodbath is one of those movies.

I’m going to keep all of this extremely brief; not only because if you’re reading this site, you’ll be more than accustomed to this kind of fare, but also because I don’t wish to allow this movie to steal more of my precious lifespan than is absolutely necessary.

Now, you’ve seen it all before. A group of Annoying City Teenagers(tm) head out to a cabin in the woods in memory of their recently deceased chum. While there, they obnoxiously piss off some locals and eventually find themselves right in the middle of the local legend’s hunting season. Said legend is the “Black Hodag”, a creature that hunts and kills people and can apparently run on all fours, although we never see it do so.

The Hodag itself is essentially a bloke with long hair in a trenchcoat, wearing spiky gloves and what looks like a tribal African mask with some horns glued on it. He goes hell for leather running after people while wielding home-made machetes, axes, etc. As a villain it’s not completely terrible, being reminiscent of Derek Mears’ turn as Jason Voorhees, but the visual design is pretty shitty for what is really supposed to be a monster, not just some wacko.

In fact, everything about the production design is just…shitty. We have poor lighting (both too little and too much), horrendous audio (including that low-budget favourite of background noise suddenly varying in volume and type in-between shots), bottom of the barrel “acting” (one character’s reaction to seeing the Hodag is just so amazingly laughable I had to rewind and watch it again), editing that occasionally makes you say “what?” out loud (imagine a fade-out for an upcoming sex scene…then WHAM, the screen is FILLED with a head-on shot of a SINGLE BREAST), and…I could go on and on.

In what appears to be an attempt to make the film seem ultra gory, most of the guts look like someone having an entire vat of raspberry jelly dumped on them. That and some red-coloured ultra slime. There are a few moments of impressive low budget gore, but most of the time it falls over due to a silly amount of excess.

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So, what’s good about it? Anything? Well, the script is actually pretty decent. It skirts the boundaries of horror and comedy quite often with a few decent lines and the inclusion of one character who simply wants to listen to the football game while his friends disappear around him. There are also a couple of twists and turns along the way, but the delivery of the material on screen pretty much destroys any hope that Backwoods Bloodbath has on paper. Director Donn Kennedy seems to want the film to remain a serious horror flick while letting the humour run steadily throughout, but it simply isn’t scary whatsoever. Perhaps if it had been treated as a self-assured send up of the genre, it may have been slightly more successful.

Special features on this DVD release come in the form of a selection of trailers for other low-budget offerings. Most look pretty terrible, too.

There it is in a nutshell. Backwoods Bloodbath offers nothing new nor relatively entertaining. (I wouldn’t even recommend picking it up to laugh at how bad it is…it doesn’t even work on that level either.) Imagine that gentleman standing at the display. Imagine how much it’ll hurt when he breaks your wrist without even flinching as you reach to inspect the DVD case.

Just don’t do it.

Special Features

  • Trailers
  • Film

    1 out of 5

    Special Features

    1/2 out of 5

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    American Psycho Meets Creep – Strawberry Flavored Plastic Review

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    Starring Aidan Bristow, Nicholas Urda, Andres Montejo

    Directed by Colin Bemis


    Recently I wrote up an article here on Dread Central which was basically an open letter to anyone who was listening called “I Miss Found Footage.” Well, it seems like someone WAS listening, as I was then sent the link to an all-new found footage film called Strawberry Flavored Plastic from first-time writer-director Colin Bemis.

    The film follows the “still-at-large crimes of Noel, a repentant, classy and charming serial killer loose in the suburbs of New York.” Basically, you could think of the flick as American Psycho meets Mark Duplass and Partick Brice’s Creep. That, or you could think of it as “Man Bites Dog in color!” However you choose to label Colin Bemis’ psychological thriller, just make sure you check out the film once it hits in the future.

    As I alluded to above, the film is basically a found footage version of American Psycho. But that said, the film sports a twist on the charming serial killer subgenre that I have yet to see play out in any of the above-mentioned classics. I’m not going to go into spoiler territory here, but I will say that the film introduces an element to the tale that spins it into much more of a character drama than a straight horror film. Not that there is anything wrong with that!

    Truth be told, the film’s turn from serial killer flick into a layered character study might have been its kiss of death, but this slight genre switch is rendered a minor issue as the film’s central narcissistic antagonist is played by Aidan Bristow. Bristow is an actor you may not have heard of before this review, but you will hear his name more and more over the years to come, I promise. The guy gives (no pun intended) a killer performance as the film’s resident serial killer Noel Rose, and time after time surprised me with how chilling, charming, or downright vulnerable he chose to play any given scene.

    Bristow’s performance is, in the end, the major element the film has going for it. But that said, as a fan of found footage, I was smiling ear to ear at first-time director Colin Bemis’ understanding of what makes a found footage suspense sequence work.

    In Strawberry Flavored Plastic director Colin Bemis is confident and content to allow full emotional scenes to play out with the camera directed at nothing more than a character’s knees. Why is this so important? Because it keeps the reality of the film going. Too many found footage directors would focus on the actors’ faces during such emotional scenes – no matter how contrived the camera angle was. In this film, however, Bemis favors the reality that says, “If you were really in this emotional state and holding a camera, you would let it drop to your side.” I agree, and it is small touches like that which make the film feel authentic and thus – once the shite hits the fan – all the scarier.

    On the dull side of the kitchen knife, the film does feel a bit long even given it’s short running time, and there doesn’t seem too much in the way of visceral horror to be found within. Again, graphic blood and gore aren’t a must in a fright flick, but a tad more of the old ultra-violence would have gone a long way in selling our main psychopath’s insanity and unpredictability. But all the same, the film does feature a rather shocking sequence where our main baddie performs a brutal home invasion/murder that puts this film firmly in the realm of horror. In fact, the particular POV home invasion scene I’m talking about holds about as much horror as you’ll ever wish to witness.

    In the end, Colin Bemis’ Strawberry Flavored Plastic is a must-see for fans of found footage and serial killer studies such as American Pyscho, Creep, and Man Bites Dog. I recommend giving it a watch once it premieres. If only to be able to point to Aidan Bristow in the near future and tell all your friends that you watched (one of) his first movies.

    Until then, check out the film’s trailer HERE, and follow the movie on Facebook.

    • Strawberry Flavored Plastic
    3.5

    Summary

    Lead actor Aidan Bristow turns in a star-making performance in Colin Bemis’ Strawberry Flavored Plastic, a found footage film that plays out like Man Bites Dog in Color before introducing a new element to the charming-serial-killer subgenre and becoming more character study than a straight horror. Think American Psycho meets Creep.

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    Who Goes There Podcast: Ep 148 – Inside (2017 Remake)

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    We’ve all heard the old saying, “in this world nothing can be said to be certain, except death and taxes.” Well, I’m here to tell you that’s only partially true. It seems there is a third certainty that had been omitted from the original quote, “It is certain, if you enjoy a movie, at some point someone will remake that movie.” Now is the time when one of my favorite movies gets reimagined, “for an American audience”.

    In the late 2000’s an explosion of “French extreme” horror films was released. Martyrs and or High Tension can often be found on any number of lists of the “most fucked up horror movies ever”. Unfortunately, the vastly superior Inside is often forgotten (as well as Frontier(s), but that’s a whole ‘nother rant). Now, ten years after it’s initial release, Inside has been Americanized. Don’t worry, we watched it so you don’t have to. You’re welcome.

    Mommy says you’re not dead. Is that true? It’s the Who Goes There Podcast episode 148!

    If you like what you hear, please consider joining our Patreon subscribers. For less than the cost of a beer, you get bonus content, exclusive merchandise, special giveaways, and you get to help us continue doing what we love.

    The Who Goes There Podcast is available to subscribe to on iTunes right here. Not an iTunes user? You can listen on our Dread Central page. Can’t get enough? We also do that social media shit. You’ll find us on FacebookTwitterInstagramTwitch, and YouTube.

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    Totem Review – It’s Not Always A Bad Thing To Look Up From The Bottom Level, If You Like That View

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    Starring Kerris Dorsey, James Tupper, Ahna O’Reilly

    Directed by Marcel Sarmiento


    Following the untimely death of a family’s matriarchal figure, a young woman finds out that managing to hold all of the pieces in place becomes increasingly more difficult when otherworldly infiltrators make their presence felt. We’re going to have to work our way up this Totem, as

    17 year old Kellie is the leading lady of the home following the passing of her mother Lexy, and with a needy father and tiny tot of a baby sister, she still keeps things in working order, regardless of the rather large hole that’s been left in the dynamic due to the death. Kellie’s dad after a while decides to ask his lady-friend to move in with the family, so that everyone can move onto a more peaceful existence…yeah, because those types of instances always seem to work seamlessly. As fate would have it, Kellie’s sense of pride is now taking a beating with the new woman in the mix, and her little sister’s new “visitor” is even more disturbed by this intruder – only question is, exactly who is this supernatural pal of sorts? Is it the spirit of their dead mother standing by to keep watch over the family, or is it something that’s found its way to this group, and has much more evil intentions at hand?

    What works here is the context of something innately malicious that has found its way into the home – there are only a couple moments that come off as unsettling, but the notion of having to weave through more than half the film acting as a sullen-teen drama is rather painful. The presentation of the “broken family” is one that’s been done to death, and with better results overall, and that’s not to say that the movie is a complete loss, it just takes far too much weeding through at times stale performances and even more stagnant pacing to get to a moderately decent late-stage conclusion to the film. Under the direction of Marcel Sarmiento (Deadgirl), I’d truly hoped for something a bit more along the lines of a disturbing project such as that one, but the only thing disturbing was the time I’d invested in checking this one out. My best advice is to tune into the Lifetime channel if you want a sulky teen-melodrama with a tinge of horror, or you could simply jump into this one and work your way up…but it’s a LONG way to the top.

    • Film
    2.0

    Summary

    Sulky, moody, and ridden with teen-angst buried in the middle of a supernatural mystery – SOUNDS like a decent premise, doesn’t it?

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