Backwoods Bloodbath (UK DVD)
Reviewed 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.
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.
1 out of 5
1/2 out of 5
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