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Tuesday, June 2, 2015

My Review Of "The Redwood Massacre"

David Ryan Keith's "The Redwood Massacre" is a return to slasher's beginnings. It feeds on the construct of what made the classic masked killer horror flicks so powerful and memorable. The film stars Mark Wood, Lisa Livingston, Lisa Cameron, Rebecca Wilkie, Adam Coutts in a story that takes us back to rural killing grounds of an unstoppable, preternatural force of brutality. The Redwood House is home to a legend surrounding the tragic end of a farmer and his family. The father driven insane murders his wife and kid then ends his own life. (That isn't a spoiler, it isn't an actual event that takes place just the legend that builds to the massacre we get to enjoy.) Anyway years later on the anniversary a group of friends head out to party at the location and the blood spills.

Synopsis: For five adventurous friends, visiting the legendary murder site of the Redwood House has all the hallmarks of being an exciting and thrilling camping weekend away. A popular site for revelers and party goers, each year on the exact date of the famous local family massacre, people from around the country head out to the site to have fun and scare each other. Events take a bloody turn for the worse when the innocent campers discover the Redwood legend is in fact a horrible bloody reality, which turns the unsuspecting victims into prey for a mysterious ax wielding maniac that has remained dormant for 20 years.

"The Redwood Massacre" has a pretty cool story. It does seem to piece together some elements of many classic horror mythos that came before, but the Redwood legend doesn't feel like a rip off (at least it didn't to me). It just uses the best components of the slasher construct and builds a really nice, dark, origin story for this truly intimidating killer. The direction and acting are straightforward with scenes and staging that screams traditional horror. For me the film is as fun in its own modern way as "Madman" and "The Burning" were the first time I saw them. "The Redwood Massacre" moves full force from the beginning to the end in an almost nonstop killing spree of visceral carnage. 

The special effects and soundtrack keep with the darker, more grindhouse feel. That is a slight deviation from the classic slasher styles. This film has a more contemporary atmosphere to it with the choice of music it uses. Not sure what the feeling is but much like "Hostel" made me almost uncomfortable with the instrumental that was chosen-especially during the bloody kill scenes, is much like the feeling I got watching this film. Just an unapologetic show of brutality coupled with some gore-rich special effects and blood splatter. I don't think I have seen to many UK/British slashers show the bloody bits as full on as "The Redwood Massacre" does. ( ? )

Overall I enjoyed the film. Although the story was built on well established beliefs surrounding the "slasher" as monster, the actual Redwood legend is a nice, disturbing and believable story. The blood and gore (and there is a lot of it) is well put together and in your face. The killer is recognizable and familiar to the slasher genre but brought to life in a very original, creative way that doesn't feel copycat. It is just a really fun and brutal slasher that stays serious with very little satire or "comic relief". I was a bit annoyed at the end with the final bit of dialog but the way it ends suggests a sequel so I liked that aspect. I think fans of slasher and gore will enjoy this film. It really is a return to the classic horror that most of us grew up on in the early 80's.


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