Beware Jerusalem, the Grand Canyon, and Holland Road

It’s a world of flying demons, angry ghost tribes, and pigheaded killers out there, which is why I choose to just stay home and watch bad horror movies. So how bad are these three?

JERUZALEM (2015)

jeruzalem cover

Jeruzalem is everything I expect from found footage films: endless ridiculous footage of pointless shit people wouldn’t actually be filming followed by 20 fun but ultimately predictable as fuck final minutes of horror action. And just to make this shit even more annoying, it unfriends the fuck out of me with the addition of text message and social media windows popping up constantly on screen. The gimmick adds nothing to the narrative, but it’s, you know, totes trendy and in touch with the kids of today.

 jeruzalem text box

Two girls are heading to Tel Aviv, but on the plane, they meet cute guys and follow them to Jerusalem. The girl with the camera films shit like her napping in her hotel room then waking up and looking around the room calling her friend’s name. Ah, those great vacation memories forever captured on camera. There is nothing this chick won’t film, which makes me wonder where exactly she found a device with a battery that lasts for INFINITY.

49 minutes into the film, something attacks the city and helicopters are everywhere. People are ordered to evacuate, but the main girl can’t find the guy she likes, so she pulls a Cloverfield and insists on going back to find him.

jeruzalem wings

And speaking of, while it eventually turns out that this is a movie about people being turned into awesome looking winged demons, we get two glimpses of a Godzilla sized monster walking around the city. Like seriously, this thing appears to just be touring Jerusalem. I mean, it doesn’t even stop to wreak havoc. WTF?

jeruzalem demon eyes

Anyway, when the main group we’re following ends up in a church, my immediate thought was, “They’re going to have to go through underground tunnels with nothing but camera light as their guide.” I suggest just skipping the hour of no frills and going straight for the chills and thrills of the underground tunnel finale.

THE DARKNESS (2016)

darkness 2016 cover

Why do I keep watching mainstream Hollywood horror movies made for people who are afraid of their own shadow? Okay, that was rhetorical, because I know why—they’re on cable constantly and I’m paying 250 bux a month for that shit.

It’s hard to believe that this one comes from the man behind the Wolf Creek movies. But, if The Conjuring, Insidious, Sinister and all their cheap knockoffs get your ghost, then knock yourself out with The Darkness.

darkness 2016 cast

Kevin Bacon and Rhada Mitchell of Silent Hill star as the parents of a kid who I guess is autistic. While they’re touring the Grand Canyon, the kid falls through a hole in the ground, touches some stones, then brings a supernatural force home with him.

Things so terrifying you can’t even stand it begin to happen. Writing appears in the steam on a bathroom mirror. There are mysterious dark stains on a bed sheet. Faucets turn on. There are strange noises. And when the kid plays a game with his mom in which he hides under a sheet, you would never guess that at some point in the film, mom is going to pull the sheet away to find there’s no one under it!

There’s also family drama. The daughter (Lucy Fry, who stars in the Wolf Creek TV series) is anorexic. Mom and dad’s marriage is falling apart. Mom hits the bottle. Yet the family manages to hold it together enough to research a barbaric society that once lived on the grounds they visited.

darkness 2016 tribe

The laughs…um, I mean…scares ramp up. The boy spits black plasma. The daughter is attacked by the neighbor’s dog and by black handprints.

darkness 2016 handprints

And finally, Dad’s boss (Paul Reiser) offers them the services of the spiritual cleanser he uses. Before long, Dad and son are heading into another realm to vanquish the Grand Canyon people. Where’s Lin Shaye when you need her?

HOLLAND ROAD (2015)

 holland road cover

If only every indie backwoods slasher had a running time of 53 minutes, the world would be a better place. The fact that Holland Road cuts out all the bullshit and pretty much gets straight to all the cliché highlights makes it very easy to overlook any flaws…and makes it the most bearable of these three films.

holland road guys

It’s Halloween time. After minimal drama at a costume party, a group of friends heads to a supposedly haunted road to sit around a campfire and tell tales of crazed killer Pigman. One guy goes to gather more firewood, Pigman appears, and then everyone gets chased around the woods while making some pitiful attempts to take down Pigman with hand-to-hand combat.

holland drive axe

The guys in the cast are notably cute and beefy, and the atmosphere is creepy thanks to a classic dark and grainy look. Also, the score is pretty good for the most part, yet during the first kill the music sounds like something from a military action film, which totally ruins the tone of the scene.

holland drive young guy

A weird shift from night to day near the end of the film also scores it some low budget cred. Although Pigman carries a huge axe, it’s rarely used for the kill, or if it is, we don’t get to see the money shot. In other words, gore is minimal.

holland drive pig jump
PIG FUCKER!

holland drive cops

Surprisingly, while this is a very tame, low budget slasher with an abrupt cop-out ending (cops literally come out to the woods and are killed), the closing credits include a gritty scene hinting at what goes on in Pigman’s lair.

holland road lair

Had this film tapped into the extra 25 minutes or so that most indies waste, it could have left a bit of an impression. As is, it’s pretty forgettable.

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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