Backwoods slashers and a supernatural killer in the 00s

Crazed killers, a grim reaper, and killer cannibals in this foursome from 2006, 2007, and 2008.  Did any of them stand out?

WILDERNESS (2006)

This survivalist horror flick essentially takes the most basic slasher premise and relocates it to a deserted island.

The premise is actually ridiculous. After bullying a fellow inmate to suicide, a group of juvenile delinquents is sent to spend some time on an island…with one single chaperone. These really bad seeds, who could easily overpower their leader, even get to roam around on their own.

To top it off, there’s a lady chaperone there with her gang of girlie delinquents. So when someone with a pack of crazed dogs and a crossbow seems to be out for revenge, the two groups must team up to survive.

The gore and violence are phenomenal, but this isn’t a jump scare horror film, and these kids are such pieces of scum that I just don’t see how we’re supposed to relate to them or care what happens to them. I was more disturbed and upset when one of the kids fights back against a dog.

The only thing that saves it for me (aside from the awesome gore) is the fact that one guy is just so much more vile than the others that he becomes more of a problem than the actual killer.

BARRICADE (2007)

Coming to us from a German splatter director, this is a very odd backwoods cannibal family movie.

It’s the usual plot—friends camping end up in cannibal family’s lair—but the “group” of friends is comprised of a mere trio: scream queen Raine Brown, scream king Joe Zaso, and his buddy.

The majority of victims are just random people in the woods, beginning with a group of guys in the opener, who don’t speak English and don’t get subtitles!

The good news? Their slaughter tells you exactly what this movie is about—the absolutely vile grindhouse gorefest.

The melodrama between Raine and Joe is just filler between some fantastically icky kills by a gnarly family.

Note that there also aren’t any scares and the music, both songs and score, are really annoying, so this one is absolutely about the practical gore effects…and Joe skinny-dipping…

GRIM REAPER (2007)

The director of Lethal Eviction, The Graveyard, and A Dead Calling brings us a messy supernatural slasher set in a hospital.

A stripper gets hit by a taxi, ends up in the hospital, and sees the taxi driver killed by the grim reaper in an operating room. That’s when she notices there’s barely anyone in the place and the staff is weird.

Before long she’s in a loony section with some other people, they’re trapped, they’re trying to find a way out. Forty minutes in they are finally chased by the grim reaper.

There simply isn’t enough slasher action here, and the attempts to present some sort of alternate timeline after she was hit by the taxi just makes matters more convoluted. A few decent kills and an ominous killer aren’t enough to save this one.

ALIVE OR DEAD (2008)

A girl having flip phone sex while driving a deserted road at night passes a parked bus with a “help me” written on a window…and stops to explore the bus?

It was really hard to buy the setup of Alive or Dead, and it just gets worse and more confusing as the film continues.

She finds a girl chained up with a mask over her face on the bus.

They hunker down when the killer gets on the bus and drives them to…a secluded castle in the desert?

They sneak off and explore nonchalantly until he finally starts chasing them 42 minutes in. They spend the rest of the movie fending for themselves instead of actually working together. I really did not get it.

Nor did I understand the deformed cannibal kid, the weird monk dude that suddenly appears wanting revenge on the main cannibal killer for eating his daughter, or the bizarre discovery the girl with the mask makes while exploring a house.

Good gore and chase scenes fail to salvage this mess.

About Daniel

I am the author of the horror anthologies CLOSET MONSTERS: ZOMBIED OUT AND TALES OF GOTHROTICA and HORNY DEVILS, and the horror novels COMBUSTION and NO PLACE FOR LITTLE ONES. I am also the founder of BOYS, BEARS & SCARES, a facebook page for gay male horror fans! Check it out and like it at www.facebook.com/BoysBearsandScares.
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