If there’s a slasher on Amazon Prime, it’s going to end up in my Watch List eventually. So here’s how things turned out when I watched two indies about a bunch of friends heading into the woods for a weekend of partying and slaughter.
AMERICAN PARADICE (2011)
If the title doesn’t tip you off, this one has a political/social commentary angle, essentially about American greed. It even opens with a guy watching an Obama speech on TV before telling a real estate agent on the phone that home buyers are getting screwed.
Next, we meet a bunch of kids who have come to the wilderness to party…and to help some tired looking older man with some last minute projects before he surrenders his property because there’s supposedly toxic activity on the land.
A majority of this film doesn’t even feel like a horror movie. The kids just hang around the campfire talking (not even telling any scary stories), have sex, and deliver a working montage. We learn that the kids are rich…and greedy, because they discover why the man is losing his land and plan to take advantage of it themselves.
That’s when the man snaps.
He’s having flashbacks of being in war, so we get that he’s ex-military. He starts to…well…he kills some kids, abducts and ties up others, and molests still others.
There’s really no rhyme or reason, and you have to wonder how such a worn out older fellow could overpower half-a-dozen healthy kids, especially considering a good number of them are buff boys that are the highlight of this lackluster slasher. A major highlight.
BLOOD REAPER (2004)
Blood Reaper wins the serviceable slasher award in this double feature. This shot-on-video film doesn’t offer much more than good low budget 80s throwback kills, but they were pretty dang satisfying and made it worth it for me.
As a bonus, the movie opens with b-queen Brinke Stevens and her man as the first victims. Someone has done their homework, because the kill scenes as well as the eerie string and synth score definitely have a classic Friday the 13th feel. Plus, there’s a masked killer!
Next, a bunch of friends goes fishing. We get a campfire urban legend this time – which comes complete with a campfire theme song (not kidding) – but it doesn’t really shed any light on who the killer is, why the killer kills, and why the killer chose to wear a gas mask.
And don’t expect any answer by the time the film ends. The “plot” is simply that friends come to fish, mysterious masked killer hacks them all up.
The killing doesn’t begin until one chick stays back at the cabin while the others fish. For whatever reason, she begins to freak out that she’s alone at the cabin, so what does she do to calm her terror? She enters a dark cave she stumbles upon in the woods. WTF?
This sets a precedent, for you begin to watch Blood Reaper simply for the satisfying kill scenes. In between, the forgettable characters pretty much run around the woods killing time until it’s their time. We get several body reveals plus a great and gory underwater kill, and when it comes to the last character standing, there’s a surprise switcheroo and an awesomely swift takedown of the killer. Blood Reaper really is all about the kill kill kill!