Staunton Hill (DVD)
Reviewed by Scott A. Johnson
Starring Kathy Lamkin, Cristen Coppen, David Rountree, Kiko Elisworth, Christine Carlo, Paula Rhodes, Charlie Bodin, B.J. Hendricks
Directed by G. Cameron Romero
Distributed by Anchor Bay Entertainment
You've seen this movie before. In fact, chances are, you've seen it multiple times. While many might be tempted to look at the last name of the director and slap an automatic gold star on it, the fact is that Son-of-George must stand on his own, and with this movie, he simply doesn't quite get there.
Staunton Hill is the story of a group of friends hitchhiking to an event when they pass by a little country store. A kind stranger offers to give them a ride, even though his truck overheats every few minutes. Still, they agree, and are off on an adventure that involves them sleeping in a barn, having minor arguments, and generally being teen-agers. Oh ... and there are also cannibals.
This movie looks like a direct rip-off of the remake of The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, down to having Kathy Lamkin in a creepy role. The only difference is, this time she's not sipping tea in a trailer; she's controlling the whole situation. The special effects in this movie are not much to write home about either. A movie of this sort could have lent itself to massive scenes of gore and mayhem, but we're left with only the barest bits, including one scalping and one (Romero trademark) guts-being-pulled-out of the stomach scene. It seems as if every cliché in the book was heaped upon writer (and star) David Rountree's head, and he came up with this script as a way to exorcise the overused ideas from his imagination.
Which is not to say the film is utterly worthless. The one saving grace for this low-budget film falls within the capable hands of the actors. Where most movies like this have their share of wooden performances, over-actoring, readers, and talentless eye-candy, Staunton Hill has some really impressive talent. Cristen Coppen's "Jordan" is wholly believable, as is Kiko Ellsworth's "Boon." In fact, the whole cast, Ms. Lamkin included, performed their rolls admirably. If they'd had a good script with a good storyline to work with, they'd have had something really big here.
Don't look for any special features either. Other than subtitles there's not a single bit of supplemental material available for our perusal.
2 1/2 out of 5
0 out of 5
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