Camping trips and road trips just never end well, so it’s a relief that dumb kids keep going on them. This backwoods battle is between two Amazon Prime titles that both run about 80 minutes long and have very bleak endings. So which of these two flix better delivers the backwoods goods?
VOODOO RISING (2016)
Don’t let the title or the poster art fool you. Other than a gypsy warning our group of ignorant campers of impending doom, there’s really nothing supernatural here. It’s just the usual – a bunch of kids crosses paths with the wrong family in the middle of the woods.
The backwoods psychos are simply a bunch of generic rednecks, so they aren’t all that intimidating. And the kids seem to just wander all over the woods for the entire movie having random encounters with them. Finally, one of the kids kills a family member, which lands all the kids in the clutches of the whole psychotic bunch.
There’s nothing new here, and other than some intense and grisly torture during the final act, the movie isn’t even scary.
I actually much prefer director Eddie Lengyel’s film Hellweek, which I blog about here. While everyone gives a decent performance, “scream queer” Roger Conners gets to shine as the resident gay character, delivering the most convincing shrieks of terror despite the family not being all that terrifying.
Put backwoods and “squeal” together and you’ve already got my attention. This one is definitely more of what you expect from backwoods horror. It opens with a vague hint that some sort of experiment went horribly wrong, followed by a pig-like squeal, which is all the backstory you’re going to get.
Next, we meet a band heading out on a tour in their van. After the band makes a pit stop with creepy signs of things to come, the kid driving the van—while—smoking pot and talking about Casey Kasem voicing Shaggy—crashes after almost hitting some little man-beast in the road.
Half of the stranded group goes to look for help while the other half stays behind to have sex. You know what that means. Before long, everyone is in cages in the lair of a family of pig people! The kids are obnoxious, and half the time you want to scream at them for dumb decisions, but the fact is, many kids would probably act the same way under such dire circumstances.
Squeal is fast-paced, gritty, grisly, and intense in its final act, with the slaughter coming on quick and cruelly. Also, the final guy and girl put up a damn good fight. And finally, the main girl acts the fuck out of being terrified and seriously deserves to be in more horror films.