DESECRATED (2015)

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Directed by:
Written by:
Starring: , ,

Available now on Amazon Video

In a spooky forest a trio of guys have their douche-bag camping trip interrupted by a masked killer. They tie two of the three up after knocking them out (one via Taser) while the third is just left on the ground. He quickly kills them all of course, so you have to wonder why he went to the trouble of breaking out the ropes or the stun gun. Or what he was thinking leaving one victim lying there in the dirt untied. This immediately eyebrow raising prologue sequence doesn’t suggest that a great movie is incoming. The weird choices and uninteresting slasher deaths aren’t exactly aiming to raise the bar. While it’s often interesting to see new ideas thrown into the mix during generic killer stories, Desecrated has nothing else to offer by the time the opening credits have rolled.

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After the opening we meet Allie (Haylie Duff) who is with some friends spending their Spring Break at a rural property owned by her father (Michael Ironside). It’s next to a sinister patch of woodland, so while this isn’t the usual abandoned cabin setting it becomes clear right away exactly what is going to happen. Horny pot smoking teens by themselves with only a shifty family friend (Gonzalo Menendez) looking after the place? What could possibly go wrong. It’s the same old formula with little to no novelty value, and they soon find themselves wandering outside at night and coming across a weird run down shack hidden in the dark.

This venture outside has to happen for things to progress, but it’s made all the more bizarre when they have such a huge holiday home to party in with its own swimming pool and no supervision. But they have to get into a tricky situation somehow. Unfortunately they walk along the least interesting path to find trouble. The scary hideout contains a few interesting items including a candle-lit shrine and some puzzling jars of indeterminate remains. But these items go missing as soon as the two love birds who broke in try and tell anyone about it. What a mystery. The problem is that within minutes of this place being found the killer is revealed, and it was the most obvious candidate. There isn’t even a basic attempt at suggesting a red herring.

The irritable caretaker Ben, a man keeping a variety survival supplies and a locker full of ex-Marine Corps paraphernalia was the murderer. The film makers are pretty up front about this for some reason so I can’t really call this a spoiler. This revelation, or lack thereof, comes along really early and nothing interesting is done with the plot afterwards. The scary gas masks and night vision goggles are never employed to create the illusion of a faceless killer. Stranger still his tools are never used to depict a few really outlandish death sequences. That at least would keep things from becoming stale. One (off screen) landmine and a bunch of gun shots are all the film can muster, which is really odd. Especially considering all the tricks and traps that could have been involved.

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The pacing is incredibly poor and there are no real moments of creeping dread. There’s zero sinister atmosphere used to generate suspense along the way. The characters walk around in the dark, sit around in the dark, or bicker endlessly about their own tedious romantic problems. During a scene where an off road jeep gets a flat tire they just travel between the garage and back, unhindered, without any narrative momentum. Why not have them trying to fix the problem under time constraints. Maybe some kind of murder related duress? Being lost and isolated should be a real pressure cooker kind of situation, but there’s little effort involved in creating tension. Eventually the body count starts to stack up but it’s never imaginative.

Genre movie favourite Michael Ironside does show up but he gets just a few brief scenes. To nobody’s surprise it’s just a brief cameo. While he does a decent job with the material the subplot plot about his wife and children is superfluous and doesn’t add anything to the proceedings, besides melodrama. The rest of the actors involved are pretty uninspiring, when they bother trying at all. While the most irritating teens die first they still have far too much screen time. The script is just a series of arguments and petty disputes when it’s not trying to run through all the same tired out horror clichés, which doesn’t help this feel any less tedious.

There are some attempts at making the killer seem sympathetic. But the flashbacks come along too late and fail to make the story more interesting. The title of the movie does makes sense at least, but it’s no less boring because of it. Later as the cast discovers what we already know about Ben it never builds up to a big finale, instead there are more scenes in which people stumble about in the woods. In one chuckle worthy moment clues are found on some kind of TripAdvisor review of the property. It would have been an interesting discovery to find in Ben’s workshop or a scary basement. Or that even in that shack in the woods which is never seen again. Instead the revelations are a big fat nothing nothing. It showed no promise in the opening and it delivers no surprises by the end, so at least it’s consistent.

Rating: ★★☆☆☆☆☆☆☆☆

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About Mocata 120 Articles
A sucker for classic epics, 80s science fiction and fantasy kitsch, horror, action, animation, stop motion, world cinema, martial arts and all kinds of assorted stuff and nonsense. If you enjoy a bullet ballet, a good eye ball gag or a story about time travelling robots maybe we can be friends after all.

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