VOD Release Date – TBC
There are a couple of main characteristics of a massacre, but it kind of boils down to the scale of the event and the indiscriminate nature of it. Neither of which is true here, but I guess they needed an attention grabbing title. Accuracy isn’t really their strong suit in general, from questionable release date, the vague title card which says this is all “based on actual events” (you could have at least gone with “inspired by” guys) and the official synopsis which says there are cannibals involved in this story. Spoiler – there are none. While the film derives many moments from horror pictures gone by there are no flesh-eaters here, even if they do borrow one of Fulci’s infamous eye gags from Zombi 2. There are in fact many influences on show here. But the execution of all this is far from inspired.
From the snap zoom effects of The Evil Dead and faux grindhouse effects and visual tricks ala Death Proof, there are a lot of elements vying for attention. They even include a less than convincing “reel missing” joke minutes into the film, which isn’t a good sign. None of this is of a particularly high calibre, and the quality of their post production film defects are very distracting. Fortunately they subside after the opening scene, but this does crop up randomly every so often with little consistency. Maybe it’s to signal the horror bits? It’s difficult to determine. In other places black and white film is used to censor some of the bloodiest moments; it’s hard to believe this was a stylistic choice.
Elsewhere the technical problems raise more than a few eyebrows, from the stock sounds to the music. There are the usual horror cutting and chopping sounds as well as a dramatic piano discord that gets used way to often, however I’m almost certain that an a interrupted vinyl LP scratch sound is not supposed to happen during scene transitions. I’d like to say they were aiming for comedy here but it’s impossible to say. It’s all over the place and random changes in colour temperature don’t help. But here I am rambling about the methods, and you just want to hear about the body count. Yes, there are some travellers who get the axe.
Hitch-hiking girls wearing short shorts are being picked up along the highway by a creeper with a military jacket on. The main victims are a cheerleader, a waitress and a girl role playing with her boyfriend. The last one isn’t even a real hitch-hiker, but who’s keeping track. It’s certainly not high brow stuff with plenty of low angles and uncovered skin, though the weird mix of bad rock music and shall we say erotic sound effects is sort of weird. It’s pretty tone deaf jumping from one scenario to the next with little pacing or build up. What little atmospheric background noise they use is surprisingly minimal, with more focus on random instrumental tracks that rarely fit.
There are a few b-plots thrown in including a local sheriff trying to solve the missing girls problem and a drug addled guy camping out in the woods nearby, but it’s not exactly a strong narrative. The main thread here involves the killer and his money making scheme – supplying the organ donor trade South of the border. It would have been a neat spin on things if they’d used it more creatively. His quips about the phone company being the real criminals suggest they could have got a bit more screen presence out of the guy, but acting ability isn’t on the cards for anyone involved here. During an escape attempt, one of his victims hits him with a fire extinguisher only for the killer to declare “that hurt” and carry on as normal. What a guy. Random flashbacks highlight his past escapades but there are no interesting slasher moments or any sense that they were meaningful when scenes are spread around during the running time. Past failures or a reveal of his methods becoming more calculated would have added a little character at least.
Elsewhere our hero does his best detective work using … an internet route planner. He also traces a 911 call from just a couple of seconds of air time. This even identifies the subscriber and tells him if they have a criminal record. The clash of low tech computing and sci-fi cell phone tracking is pretty amusing. Maybe this is a comedy? Out in the woods the happy camper dances about yelling at his absent spouse while talking about getting high, long before any of the victims pass by to ask for help. It comes out of nowhere and is likeable in an strange eccentric way, but congruity is nowhere to be found. But this is a film where box cutters are used to perform precision surgery and people do the nasty without taking off their underwear; what else can I say…