Reviewed by Kalebson
Starring Lindsay Pulsipher, Robert Longstreet, Matt Olsen, Roger Mayer
Directed by Calvin Lee Reeder
“You shouldn’t have ever come here!”
That is what most of the remaining viewers were thinking as they left the venue after trying to take in the final moments of Calvin Lee Reeder’s feature length film debut, The Oregonian. This Sundance Midnight at Park City entry was shot in a mere ten days in Washington and California on a very meager budget. Preceding the feature presentation we were treated a nifty short called The Pact by Nicholas McCarthy, a grand little haunted house teaser. Had we only known what was to follow …
The synopsis is simple really. A woman living on a farm in Oregon flees to the woods on an adventure into the unknown. The woman (Lindsay Pulsipher, “True Blood”) starts her adventure by crashing her car off of the side of the road. We never get her name as she now has amnesia. Hurt badly, she decides to go in search of help, only to run into some crazy old lady who can do nothing more than stare at her with a creepy smile from ear to ear.
Next she finds another car on the side of the road (also crashed), and inside is what can only be described as a school mascot in a frog costume. Yes, a school mascot in a frog costume. Noticing a chrome-plated shotgun in the car, and with the assumption that frog-man is dead, she takes the pump and leaves, only to find a small deserted town that looks like the leftovers from The Hills Have Eyes.
Finally finding an odd man (Roger Mayer) driving a van, she pleads with him to take her to a phone so she can call for help. Obliging silently, they head off but stop a few moments later so the man can take a leak in the middle of the road. This, however, is no ordinary piss session as his urine changes colors the more he goes, from clear to yellow to red and finally black. This is all pointless as she really has no idea what is going on, and then the man passes out face first on the ground. As she prepares to take the van, the man re-appears and says he’s all right and they leave to get help … or do they? Wash, rinse and repeat as she finds more and more strangers along her way, sometimes the same strangers, with no real help in sight.
The problem here is more than just repetition; it’s the whole damn thing. With the exception of the main character and the old lady, none of the weirdos bring anything to the table. And boy oh boy do we have a mix of personalities; from masturbating mascots in green frog suits to toothless rednecks that drink gasoline to dancing gypsies and a cult of others that are nothing more than indescribable devil worshipers spewing some kind of black gunk from their mouths, there’s a long line of freaky running through The Oregonian‘s acts. None of them, however, ever amounts to anything.
The 16mm and Super 16mm camerawork is just atrocious while trying to give a 70’s feel with constant blackouts and cigarette burns throughout the 81-minute runtime. Worse yet is the sound, causing some people to leave after 3 minutes in. It was more akin to a screeching of sorts. This screeching is done over and over, nearly deafening at times. It’s so overly done and obnoxious that the entire audience had to cover their ears several times.
With all of its shortcomings and annoyances, I’d be hard pressed to thing of anything good to say about Reeder’s The Oregonian, except maybe, “Congratulations for being accepted into Sundance!” It’s hard to fathom that the people who accepted this steaming pile of poo watched the same movie that we did. The Oregonian would have made a great 15-minute short film, and maybe that is what Reeder needs to stick with.
I was definitely surprised that by the end only a little more than 20 patrons had headed for the exits during this excruciating experience. If you decide to see it, the best bet is have some ear plugs and watch through the back of your eyelids as you won’t miss anything if you just peek every 13 minutes or so. I just hope Lindsay Pulsipher’s reputation doesn’t get too badly tarnished riding on top of this turd.
1 out of 5
Discuss The Oregonian in the comments section below!