Written by: Giuseppe Rijitano on July 14th, 2010
Theatrical Release Date: USA, April 17th, 2009
Director: Adam Mason
Writer: Simon Boyes, Adam Mason
Cast: Andrew Howard, Ian Duncan, Sarah Essex, Tess Panzer.
DVD released: July 19th, 2010
Approximate running time: 100 minutes
Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1 Anamorphic Widescreen
Rating: 18 (UK)
Sound: Dolby Digital 5.1 English
DVD Release: Revolver Entertainment
Region Coding: Region 2 (PAL)
Retail Price: £12.99
Newlyweds Clark (Ian Duncan) and Summer (Tess Panzer) are driving across the Nevada Desert on their way to visit their in-laws and share the good news that Summer is pregnant when they blow a tyre and end up injured and on foot in the sunbaked wasteland. Heading for the nearest town on the map in the hopes of finding help they end up in Blood River; a deserted little ghost town. Just as they start to panic they are joined by a lone drifter named Joseph (Andrew Howard) a cowboy hat wearing, old testament spouting, full on tobacco spitting redneck that claims his car ran out of gas a few miles back. The trio set about formulating a plan but tensions begin to mount as Joseph’s odd but insightful comments begin to anger Clark and scare Summer. Is Joseph dangerous? And what secrets are the supposedly happy couple hiding? One thing’s for sure, there’s no place to run……..
Directed by Adam Mason, UK born veteran of a bunch of low budget horror/thrillers over the past decade (The 13th Sign, The Devil’s Chair, Broken, etc) and written by Mason along with his frequent collaborator Simon Boyes. This turned out to be a surprisingly good little b-movie thriller masquerading as yet another in the long, long line of redneck/backwoods torture thrillers that are churned out every year. A somewhat original take on the old couple-in-peril-menaced-by-hitcher type shenanigans with an interesting supernatural aspect coming slowly to the fore as the tale progresses. More of a psychological thriller than an all out horror as well, despite a few short moments of torture, gorehounds need not apply. The film may have certainly benefited greatly by having a really good character actor play the role of Joseph – a Lance Henriksen type for example (though he’s probably had his fill of roles like these) but Andrew Howard gives it his all and outshines both Ian Duncan and Tess Panzer here. Reportedly shot for $250,000 over 18 days this production’s minor flaws are entirely forgivable; namely the slightly dodgy acting and sometimes poorly lit, kind of flat, but otherwise very nicely shot cinematography. But then having said that apparently this very movie won the Film Competition Award for Best Cinematography (Stuart Brereton) at the 2009 New York Vision Fest as well as the Jury Prize for Best Actor (Andrew Howard) at the 2009 Honolulu International Film Festival – so what the hell do I know!
Excellent anamorphic transfer here, details are strong, colors vibrant. The audio again is excellent, the score is balanced nicely with the dialogue and ambient soundtrack.
An above average thriller then with a dash of the supernatural and a soupçon of finger slicing for the horror fans, worth a rental if you like that kind of thing.