Starring Benjamin Selway, Mark Wood, Lisa Cameron
Directed by David Ryan Keith
Distributed by Uncork’d Entertainment
Stalk, slash, and kill. Sorta sounds like “lather, rinse, repeat” – no simpler directions could be put into place when creating a textbook slasher flick. Place a small group of early adults in a remote location and have them bulldozed by some hulking lunk who slaughters them in some fairly barbaric ways – easy to follow, right?
When I saw the artwork for The Redwood Massacre, I was immediately pulled in like a random Kardashian to a camera lens, and after taking in this slice-fest, I immediately got that bloated feeling…kind of how you feel after visiting one of those “pound-as-much-into-your-piehole as humanly possible” buffets, where you know you can’t fit any more in, yet you gorge until you’re ready to toss chunks. Unfortunately, that’s where this particular presentation left me: I’ve seen the formula a thousand times over, and by the conclusion of the movie, I’m moronically anticipating another serving, whether I need it or not. David Ryan Keith takes the directorial playbook of slasher-dom and follows it like a champ on a winning TD drive down the field, but the only downfall is that these plays have been used until they’re wearing very thin, and that takes away drastically from the overall product.
The setup is painlessly simple: five friends gather up to head out into the woods for a rather demented celebration commemorating a brutal series of murders that took place many years ago by a man who decided to go bat shit nuts, and use his family like a bunch of knife-sharpeners. The funny thing here is, for five people who are supposedly “friends” – this small contingent of miserable bastards couldn’t stand each other throughout the majority of the film…kind of takes the starch out of the whole friend-storyline, doesn’t it? This little tactic renders each and every one of these people as immediately unlikable, and I was waiting in earnest for every single one of them to get ginsued to small, quivering pieces of meat – nice play indeed, Mr. Keith.
Allow me to introduce your killer for tonight’s performance: he’s probably 6 ft 6 inches, weighs in at a robust 285lbs, sports one very fashionable denim pair of overalls, and has one of the most form-fitting burlap sacks stretched in an evil scowl across his skull. He goes by “The Evil Highlander,” and he truly is one sadistic dude. This is where Mr. Keith paid very close attention to the slasher handbook and sculpted a mountain of a lunatic, unwilling to listen to reason, or any amount of ear-splitting shrieks and pleads for useless lives to be saved. The kills are fun to watch, and the blood pools up in prodigious puddles – he also has a penchant for collecting body parts in mason jars, but for some unknown reason this particular practice was never touched upon – ah well, better left unsaid.
Performances are where you’d expect them to be in a display such as this, where logic and reason are wantonly tossed right out the proverbial window, and these dopes simply march to their deaths, but hey, you don’t watch a movie like this for the hope of anyone surviving, and if you do, then you’re shopping around in the wrong genre, my friends. If it’s a color-by-numbers kill-a-thon that you’re after, then feel free to dive headfirst into The Redwood Massacre, but please stay in the shallow end, as the lifeguard is now off duty.