2010’s “Pelt” has a group of friends fighting for their lives against a couple of local yokels with a taste for blood and torture. The film is directed by Richard Swindell and stars Justin Welborn, Ashley Watkins, Travis Goodman, Matthew Robinson, Amber Marie Bollinger , Sarah Zurell, Ryan Boone. Unfortunately for this crew they chose to spend a weekend in the woods on private property. The choice is a fatal error for the friends.
The story is a fun, modern nightmare that puts fuel into the “camping/in the woods” horror film. I really didn’t expect a lot from “Pelt” but was pleasantly surprised. Swindell creates a very suspenseful chiller that plays with elements of slasher, grindhouse and splatter horror. The cast commit to their characters and pull off some pretty authentic personalities that I connected with. “Pelt” does find itself battling through some pretty standard clichés, but never gets marred down completely by the stereotypes. Even with a few of the characters coming off a bit abrasive, (douchbag daddy-o’s) , the actors give convincing performances that does take the characters into caricature territory.
The special effects are strong, realistic grue that explores elements of exploitation, and splatter without pushing the kill scenes into sensationalized depravity. There is a nice balance between the horror elements and the psychological suspense that makes “Pelt” a very strong horror film. The soundtrack and sound effects create a tense, thrilling atmosphere that carries the story arch from the first scene until the credits roll. Honestly I went into this film expecting to be disappointed or bored, but instead I was captivated and chilled. “Pelt” is a film that I will be watching over and over.
There is some downer moments to “Pelt”. The dialog is weak in some scenes, with characters feeling forced into conversation with one another, instead of seeming natural. It does ad a bit of a hokey vibe that disrupts the intensity and drama of the story. Honestly that is really the only hiccups I had while watching “Pelt”. The kills are bloody, there is screaming and crying, running through the woods. Brutality is the theme de jour for “Pelt” with some truly nightmarish moments. I will be referencing this film the next time I decide to explore the hills and back roads in my neck of the woods-believe that!