Reviewed by Kryten Syxx
Starring John David Hart, Toni Robider, Dana Poulson, Hunter Ballard and Gene Witham
Directed by Michael D’Anna
Distributed by Lionsgate Home Entertainment
Let me know if you’ve heard this one before: An innocent all American family (if you ignore the pot smoking lesbian daughter and her girlfriend tagging along) get stuck/lost in the backwoods area and become the victims of a long forgotten band of freaks. It’s the kind of story that can always lead to mindless fun at the very least … well, not always.
Michael D’Anna’s Side Sho had me hooked from the start with am amazing intro featuring slightly doctored images from side show and carnival freaks from years past. The music was great and it could quickly sucker in the most harden horror fan into believing this was going to be different from 90% of all the other indy flicks out there.
Then the story started…
Think of Side Sho as a mixture of House of a 1000 Corpses, Mother’s Day, the recent The Hills Have Eyes movies and any of the TCM flicks. That’s not exactly a bad mix until you realize Side Sho doesn’t bring any new, scary or interesting to the mix. While watching D’Anna’s film, there’s a good chance you’ll want to stop it and watch something else since it borrows so much from previous classics and not-so-classic pictures.
But all this could easily be solved with some fun or at least interesting characters, right? No luck here, brother. All the characters are cut from the same mold as the above mentioned genre entries. There’s the naive dad who just wants to see something new and exciting with his family; the adventurous son; the “teenage bitchy daughter (who looks nearly as old as the mother), her bitchy girlfriend (who’s hair looks like a really bad blonde wig) and the wife who faithfully follows her spouse’s plans even if they do appear totally mindless.
Even the freaks are less interesting than the bland bunch from the newer HHE remake. The make-up effects are good, but the creatures they’re attached to are nowhere near memorable. There were plenty of nasty bastards in this film, but not one can spring to mind, either in name or appearance. Where’s Michael Berryman when you need him?
There’s not really much else to say. A strong opening and some usually tried and true ideas just fell flat thanks to too many cliches, bad casting and bumpy acting. Side Sho, however, isn’t one of those movies you should skip given the chance to see it. It may have an audience out there, but for some it may be a excessive exercise in ‘been there, done that.’
2 1/2 out of 5
3 out of 5
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