The resurgence of slashers following Scream needed to break the teen horror mold somehow, so it began turning to the old Texas Chainsaw backwoods formula, which was often a convenient way to also work in the growing trend of torture porn horror. So, how torturous is this batch?
Detour was a budget DVD impulse buy back in the days when Best Buy had an amazing horror section. Because of its direct-to-dvd status, it may get some hate, but honestly—it’s one of my favorites so far in my “After Scream” series!
Mostly a The Hills Have Eyes rip-off, this one starts with Tiffany Shepis as a lesbian traveling with her girlfriend when they cross paths with a Sand People-looking freak wielding a nasty set of hooks.
Then we meet a group of kids in an RV, heading to a rave. The exaggerated raver girls rule, and while most will probably hate the wigger (I can use the ‘w’ word because I’m white), I think he’s hilarious. I particularly love when the girls won’t let him into the RV until he shouts, “I love big hairy man ass!” He actually reminds me a bit of Corey Haim. He’s also one of the final heroes of the movie, so get used to him!
There’s a rest stop scene with a funny convenience store clerk who tries to warn them of the dangers, then the RV almost crashes when a little girl darts across the road. Most of the ravers stay behind to sunbathe while one dude goes back to the convenience store to get help.
Bring on the cannibals! They’re gnarly enough—usually shown in a blur—and have some nasty tricks up their sleeves (I love when one pretends to be one of the raver girls). Plus the gore and cheap scares are pretty damn good, the final girl and the Vanilla Ass kick butt, and the film shies away from torture, or even graphic cannibalism, for that matter!
There seems to be some sort of drug subplot suggesting why people begin craving flesh, but the details kind of eluded me. Maybe I just wasn’t paying close enough attention the…um…three or four times I’ve watched this film.
TIMBER FALLS (2007)
It may be derivative, but Timber Falls delivers some gruesome backwoods goodness and is very Wrong Turn in tone and style. The opener alone will draw you in—a woman crucified to a table in a grisly lair, with only one option for escape. My palms hurt just thinking about it.
Next, we meet a pretty couple heading into the woods for some hiking. A park ranger specifically tells them which trails are safe and patrolled daily. So…they instead follow the advice of Sabrina the Teenage Witch’s Aunt Zelda after running into her in the woods, and take the Timber Falls trail.
Soon after, they are harassed by a group of rednecks with guns.
So…they keep on hiking. Right here is where movies choose stupid writing to give you little sympathy for characters. But hey, they’re still not as dumb as the asshole couple in that crap movie Eden Lake with the scary teenagers.
Although, I shouldn’t speak so soon about the wits of this couple. After the first night sleeping in a tent, the chick decides to get up early to swim naked by herself. Hey, you dumb bitch. There’s a snake in the tree over there with an apple. Why don’t you go for that, too? Needless to say, now it’s her man’s job to find out where the hell she disappeared to.
All the clichés are here. Everyone who seems nice at first is part of the crazy family. There’s a deformed son who does all the dirty work. They’re all a bunch of religious crazies. And they need something from this young, fertile couple.
While the guy is strapped up shirtless (hot) and tortured, there’s a notably low body count in Timber Falls. It focuses predominantly on the family’s devious plans. However, all the gore comes at the very end of the film, when the couple strikes back. It takes too long to get to this trashy, bloody climax, but it definitely saves the film. Unfortunately, the awful “shocker” ending clip promising a sequel doesn’t do the film any favors—but it perfectly mimics the crappy final scares of films like I Know What You Did Last Summer.
The level of cash grabbing here is agonizing. The first tip should be a backwoods horror movie simply called Backwoods. If you’ve seen The Hills Have Eyes remake and Wrong Turn, you’ve seen the movies this film fails to mimic. Hell, if you’ve seen Timber Falls, you’ve seen a better version of this movie.
So, there are a bunch of hillbillies (not even deformed inbreeds) living in a cave. They have a “mother” who runs the show. They kidnap women in the woods to fertilize them.
Conveniently, Haylie Duff, always-adorable Danny Nucci, Ryan Merriman (Final Destination 3, Halloween: Resurrection, The Ring Two), and a bunch of their friends head to the woods to play paintball.
There’s a stop at a creepy gas station, and it’s loaded with obnoxious, bogus scares. The gang goes swimming in a lake and sleeps in tents. There are noises, shaking bushes, and flashes of moving figures, but only Merriman notices any of it.
I don’t even need to go further. You know EXACTLY how this plays out. The pacing is okay, the gore and torture are pretty standard, and the level of caring about any of these characters is nonexistent. To make things even more insulting, once, and only once, a hillbilly screams at Merriman not to use the Lord’s name in vain, so as to check off the line in the backwoods horror filmmaking manual that says all backwoods crazies are religious nuts. And finally, the climactic “there’s still one out there” moment is so horribly drawn out that the final scare isn’t even a scare.