Here are two examples of why I watch so many indie horror films. There are filmmakers out there who have the vision, the ideas, the talent, the stories to tell, and perhaps just plain old fun fear to put on film, even if they don’t have all the money in the world to do it. And I like to see how they pull it off despite limitations in budget and resources. And that’s not easy when you’re taking on a creature feature.
BLOOD REDD (2015)
This is a very different kind of low budget creature feature. It’s actually a character driven, mostly psychological werewolf film that still manages to deliver a few highly intense suspense scenes and some moments of excellent gore, beginning with an icky autopsy scene to establish that there’s a case involving what appears to be a killer setting a wolf loose on teen female victims.
In the meantime, a teen girl is gong to visit her grandmother for the weekend. Before she even gets there, the grandmother’s young, flamboyant gay friend comes over and says he’ll cook dinner for them.
In an otherwise very intriguing film, I think what happens next really takes so much of the surprise and mystery out of everything that comes after. But I won’t give it away.
Anyway, when the granddaughter arrives, shit gets crazy pretty fast, and in an incredibly intense scene that plays out like an adult version of “Little Red Riding Hood,” she is nearly assaulted by a psycho.
She passes out, and when she regains consciousness, the gay guy has been nearly mauled to death.
He claims she turned into some sort of horrific beast and attacked him. Things gets really weird between them as the truth unfolds, giving this flick a much more layered plot than your usual werewolf on the loose horror film. It almost feels like it could be a stage play.
Even so, there are some horrific sequences in the final act, including a werewolf transformation.
And I must say, it’s done with practical effects and is not half bad for an indie film.
DON’T FUCK IN THE WOODS (2016)
If you expect any more than what you get with a title like Don’t Fuck in the Woods, it’s your own fault. The title says it all. This is an indie throwback to all the “Don’t…” horror titles of the late 70s and early 80s that were so popular in video stores, as well as a nod to one of the most obvious rules of horror for anyone who lived through the 80s VHS era. The biggest surprise here is that this is not a slasher. The monster is as splendidly rubbery as anything that crawled out of the swamps, sewers, or spaceship air vents between the 1970s and 1990s.
The plot: Kids go camping in the woods. Kids have sex. Kids get mutilated by creature.
What more could you ask for? Director Shawn Burkett has been making horror films since the beginning of this decade, and he’s gotten progressively better. This is a much tighter film that has the spirit of a low budget indie but also shows he knows what makes low budget indies work.
After an intro kill, there are a few unexpected campy moments, including a homophobe on the street getting chased off by a gay guy who isn’t having any of it (played by one of my buddies, gay director Ryan Stacy, in a cameo!). We get a brief introduction to the main characters, including “the funny guy” of the group, played by one Roman Jossart, who’s actually really funny. He has also directed a couple of horror flicks of his own, so I think I’ll need to seek those out.
Pretty soon, the group heads into the woods for the sex and violence. The pacing is fast – the film is exactly an hour long without the 13 minutes of closing credits and bloopers at the end. Now that’s my kind of movie.
The retro feel comes complete with monster POV, sustained music cues, and teased kills for a majority of the film – victims are dragged off screen and we see just splashes of blood. Plus, the monster is just teased in quick flashes of body parts to keep us curious until we finally see the full monster Monty later.
Speaking of body parts, there’s plenty of nudity, as you’d hope in a film called Don’t Fuck in the Woods. You even get some glimpses of beaver. Damn! The amount of sex lives up to the name. And so does the monster’s ways of mutilating victims near the end.
Just when I feared this was going to be a gore-free experience, shit gets messy! And this monster is going for the gonads, once again living up to the exploitative title. If you’re a fan of low budget throwback films, you’ll probably appreciate this one.